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The carnage of substandard research during the COVID-19 pandemic: a call for quality


Worldwide there are currently over 1200 research studies being performed on the topic of COVID-19. Many of these involve children and adults over age 65 years. There are also numerous studies testing investigational vaccines on healthy volunteers. No research team is exempt from the pressures and speed at which COVID-19 research is occurring. And this can increase the risk of honest error as well as misconduct. To date, 33 papers have been identified as unsuitable for public use and either retracted, withdrawn, or noted with concern. Asia is the source of most of these manuscripts (n=19; 57.6%) with China the largest Asian subgroup (n=11; 57.9%). This paper explores these findings and offers guidance for responsible research practice during pandemics.

  • research ethics
  • epidemiology
  • public health ethics

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