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Australasian Human Research Ethics Consultancy Services Pty Ltd (AHRECS)

A fascinating history of clinical trials from their beginnings in Babylon – Medium (Prof. Adrian Esterman | April 2020)0

Posted by Admin in on June 19, 2020
 

Clinical trials are required to test treatments for COVID-19. Take a quick trip over 2,000 years and discover how our current understanding of clinical trials was formed.

Clinical trials
Clinical trials are currently being undertaken to test treatments and vaccines for COVID-19. There are many different types of clinical trial design, from a simple before and after (measure something in patients, do an intervention like giving them a drug, then measure them again), to a randomized controlled trial, the gold standard of all clinical trial designs.

Planning to give a talk about clinical trials and want to give it some historical context?  This is a great resource to use.

Here is a light-hearted history of how clinical trials developed over the last two thousand years, including the first recorded instances of control groups, the use of placebos and randomization. It will give you a better understanding of how clinical trials are designed.
600 BC Daniel and his kosher diet.
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Surprisingly, the first ever clinical trial is found in the Bible in Book one of Daniel and took place in Babylon. In 600 BC, some captive children of the Israeli royal family and nobility were taken into the King Nebuchadnezzar’s service in Babylon — among them were Daniel and three friends. Supposedly, these were golden young men — physically perfect, handsome, intelligent, knowledgeable and well qualified to serve in the king’s palace.

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Friday afternoon’s funny – Catching participants with trickery0

Posted by Admin in on June 19, 2020
 

Cartoon by Don Mayne www.researchcartoons.com
Full-size image for printing (right mouse click and save file)

Tricking participants into exposing themselves to serious harm is a serious ethical breach.  Any use of overt deception should only be used with considerable justification.  In Australia this is reflected in the National Statement (2007 updated 2018)

The epic battle against coronavirus misinformation and conspiracy theories – Nature (Philip Ball & Amy Maxmen | May 2020)0

Posted by Admin in on June 18, 2020
 

Analysts are tracking false rumours about COVID-19 in hopes of curbing their spread.

In the first few months of 2020, wild conspiracy theories about Bill Gates and the new coronavirus began sprouting online. Gates, the Microsoft co-founder and billionaire philanthropist who has funded efforts to control the virus with treatments, vaccines and technology, had himself created the virus, argued one theory. He had patented it, said another. He’d use vaccines to control people, declared a third. The false claims quietly proliferated among groups predisposed to spread the message — people opposed to vaccines, globalization or the privacy infringements enabled by technology. Then one went mainstream.

There’s a second pandemic that has circled the globe. It isn’t a virus, but it imperils life, wastes precious resources and impairs efforts to deal with  COVID-19.  It is the misinformation, conspiracy theories and wild theories running rampant around the world.  Dealing with both pandemics will require science, sober reason and commitment.

On 19 March, the website Biohackinfo.com falsely claimed that Gates planned to use a coronavirus vaccine as a ploy to monitor people through an injected microchip or quantum-dot spy software. Two days later, traffic started flowing to a YouTube video on the idea. It’s been viewed nearly two million times. The idea reached Roger Stone — a former adviser to US President Donald Trump — who in April discussed the theory on a radio show, adding that he’d never trust a coronavirus vaccine that Gates had funded. The interview was covered by the newspaper the New York Post, which didn’t debunk the notion. Then that article was liked, shared or commented on by nearly one million people on Facebook. “That’s better performance than most mainstream media news stories,” says Joan Donovan, a sociologist at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
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Donovan charts the path of this piece of disinformation like an epidemiologist tracking the transmission of a new virus. As with epidemics, there are ‘superspreader’ moments. After the New York Post story went live, several high-profile figures with nearly one million Facebook followers each posted their own alarming comments, as if the story about Gates devising vaccines to track people were true.

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What to do when your research comes under fire – Nature Index (Andy Tay | June 2020)0

Posted by Admin in on June 16, 2020
 

3 pieces of advice from the frontlines of scientific debate.

Nothing could have prepared chemist Dan Shechtman for the waves of criticism that would follow his discovery of quasi-crystals.

This piece offers excellent advice.  A worthy inclusion in your institution’s Research Integrity Resource Library.

A direct challenge to the assumption that all crystals have an ordered and repeating atomic structure, the patterns of atomic arrangement in quasi-crystals do not repeat.
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“Before publishing my work, only a few scientists knew about my finding and their reactions were varied. Many felt that the data were encouraging, while some were more sceptical,” says Shechtman, now a Distinguished Emeritus Professor at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology.

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