In an unprecedented move medical journals across academia have done away with quality requirements to make data available to physicians on the frontlines as quickly as possible. It began with the International Journal of Antimicrobial Agents publishing an uncontrolled, non randomized study depicting the treatment of COVID-19 with hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin and snowballed when the New England Journal of Medicine followed suit with a paper outlining how 53 patients got remdesivir and some lived.
“It’s like no one cares about how we rank evidence anymore,” said one researcher who preferred to remain anonymous. “This is some level 4 bulls**t. Hell, I’d even put expert opinion ahead of some of the hot garbage getting published.”
Adding fuel to the fire this week, the Journal of the American Medical Association has agreed to publish Timmy Connor’s remote learning assignment for Ms. Crabtree’s 5th grade English class, “Why I Liked Bridge to Terabithia.” “We think it’s important to get the information out there,” said Marion Cobretti, long-time editor at JAMA. “These are unprecedented times, and there’s no telling what will help our providers as they combat this terrible illness in novel ways.”
We reached out to Mr. Connor to explore the nature of his work and how it might help doctors treating COVID-19, but his mother declined to let him comment. We were able to reach a peer reviewer from the author’s class who told us there were no data or graphs, but that Connor really captures, “how cool it would be to swing on a rope to a magical forest kingdom.”
It is difficult to predict what the fallout will be from some of our most trusted sources for medical literature throwing caution to the wind, but already rheumatologists are scrambling to find hydroxychloroquine for their patients with lupus and the nation’s chlamydiaphiles are being forced to choke down erythromycin, formerly relegated to ‘worth a shot’ status for gastroparesis.
Only time will tell, but early reports from the White House is ready to give Connor’s paper a full-throated endorsement. Reached for comment on the matter, Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and member of the White House’s Coronavirus Task Force, cried softly into the phone. Hang in there, Dr. Fauci.