COVID-19: Treatment authorisation based on 'belief in miracles' - expert comment17 April 2020
In response to a study published in the medical journal JAMA, discussing the health risks posed by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) passing Emergency Use Authorization of the drugs chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine for COVID-19 treatment.
Professor Parastou Donyai, Professor of Social and Cognitive Pharmacy at the University of Reading, said:
"Most of us make sense of what we learn from friends, politicians, and different media using our own logic and everyday experiences. Some also use ideas on miracles, superstitions and conspiracies to make sense of the world. Scientists at the opposite end use careful experiments to get to ‘the real truth’ which can be time-consuming and hard to explain, especially when quick answers are needed in a crisis.
"When science can’t provide the quick answers we badly need, we are more likely to use our own common-sense, or even resort to believing the impossible just to cope with our worries.
"Sadly, we don’t yet know the truth about chloroquine / hydroxychloroquine in COVID-19. Without the truth people are more likely to believe chloroquine / hydroxychloroquine work for COVID-19, even perform miracles, especially if powerful people say so. People who have been promoting these drugs are either using their own logic or superstition, because science hasn’t given us as the answers yet.
"But the modern world is built on science, which we usually count on without even realising. So why should we give up on science when we need it the most? The JAMA paper reminds us that when this is all over and most of us get to go back to our lives, we might not want to look back ashamed at how we rushed to replace science with ideas on miracles, superstition and conspiracies."