What Does It Mean to Say a New Drug ‘Works’?

In the midst of a global crisis, scientists are trying to solve an epistemologically intractable question. Defining whether a drug “works” has never been easy, a task vexed by methodological uncertainty, commercial pressures, statistical errors, or sometimes straight-out bad practices. Facing a new disease, researchers have to rethink what success even means. Is it lower mortality? Less disability upon recovery? Faster recovery? The answers are cryptic because the questions are just educated guesses.

Covid-19 Data in the US Is an ‘Information Catastrophe’

“Every health system, every public health department, every jurisdiction really has their own ways of going about things,” says Caitlin Rivers, a senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security. “It's very difficult to get an accurate and timely and geographically resolved picture of what's happening in the US, because there's such a jumble of data.”

Metaphors Matter in a Time of Pandemic

Language matters. This author critiques the use of War metaphors in dealing with pandemics. Author reminds us that at war we require command and control, rather than the spontaneous volunteerism we have seen with self-isolation and self quarantine.