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Communicating Science in the Time of a Pandemic

Educational Objective
To understand how to communicate scientific principles, method, and discovery during a pandemic
1 Credit CME

During the global SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2) pandemic, disseminating study findings (such as by preprints, news releases, news stories, or social media) and publishing the results of studies of testing and treatment in scientific journals increased quickly. As of July 6, a PubMed search for COVID-19 yielded almost 30 000 reports.

In the context of a rapid increase in cases, hospitalizations, and deaths from COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019), clinicians, patients, policy makers, and the public at large are understandably eager for results of studies of prognosis, diagnosis, and treatment. Because of the urgency to implement the findings of research to stem the pandemic and its effects, clear and complete communication of study results is even more important than usual.

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Article Information

Corresponding Author: Richard Saitz, MD, MPH, Department of Community Health Sciences, Boston University School of Public Health, 801 Massachusetts Ave, Fourth Floor, Boston, MA 02118 (Richard.Saitz@jamanetwork.org).

Published Online: July 13, 2020. doi:10.1001/jama.2020.12535

Conflict of Interest Disclosures: Dr Saitz reported receiving nonfinancial support from Alkermes; grants from the NIH (National Institute on Drug Abuse, National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism), the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) via Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, PCORI via Public Health Management Corporation, Burroughs Wellcome Fund, and McLean Hospital; personal fees from the American Society of Addiction Medicine, National Council on Behavioral Healthcare, Leed Management Consulting Inc, Kaiser Permanente, UpToDate/Wolters Kluwer, Massachusetts Medical Society, Yale University, Group Health Inc, Charles University, National Committee on Quality Assurance, University of Oregon, Brandeis University, Karolinska Institutet, American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry, Partners, and Harvard Medical School; serving as president of the International Society of Addiction Journal Editors; editor of a book published by Springer; editor in chief of Journal of Addiction Medicine; serving on the editorial board of Journal of Addictive Diseases and Addiction Science & Clinical Practice; serving as an expert witness in malpractice cases related to alcohol and other drug use disorders; and consulting for CheckUp & Choices and ABT Corporation (not remunerated). Mr Schwitzer reported no disclosures.

References
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Grein  J , Ohmagari  N , Shin  D ,  et al.  Compassionate use of remdesivir for patients with severe Covid-19.   N Engl J Med. 2020;382(24):2327-2336.PubMedGoogle ScholarCrossref
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Data on 53 patients treated with investigational antiviral remdesivir through the compassionate use program published in New England Journal of Medicine. Gilead Sciences news release. Posted April 10, 2020. Accessed June 24, 2020. https://www.gilead.com/news-and-press/press-room/press-releases/2020/4/data-on-53-patients-treated-with-investigational-antiviral-remdesivir-through-the-compassionate-use-program-published-in-new-england-journal-of-medici
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NIH clinical trial shows remdesivir accelerates recovery from advanced COVID-19. April 29, 2020. Accessed June 24, 2020. https://www.niaid.nih.gov/news-events/nih-clinical-trial-shows-remdesivir-accelerates-recovery-advanced-covid-19
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