Tom Jefferson fra University of Oxford er hovedforfatter af et nyligt Cochrane-review, som på baggrund af 23 randomiserede forsøg ikke finder nogen effekt af mundbind. Han blev for nylig interviewet, og det kom der mange interessante ting ud af. Men nedenstående citat er noget af det mest slående.
Det i citatet omtalte Cochrane-review fra 2020 (2020-reviewet er version fem, mens 2023-reviewet er version seks – så altså samme studie, men forskellige versioner), udkom 20. november 2020. Hvis det virkelig blev forsinket syv måneder, som Tom Jefferson siger, så var det altså færdigt allerede i april 2020.
Det er yderst problematisk, hvis Tom Jefferson har ret. Men desværre ikke overraskende givet de andre historier, der har været ude om samme emne (fx Twitter-files og Jay Bhattacharyas oplevelser på Stanford, samt det danske maskestudie).
Man kan næppe overvurdere vigtigheden af fri forskning. Og det gælder uanset om der er en krise eller ej.
JEFFERSON: Governments had bad advisors from the very beginning… They were convinced by non-randomised studies, flawed observational studies. A lot of it had to do with appearing as if they were “doing something.”
In early 2020, when the pandemic was ramping up, we had just updated our Cochrane review ready to publish…but Cochrane held it up for 7 months before it was finally published in November 2020.
Those 7 months were crucial. During that time, it was when policy about masks was being formed. Our review was important, and it should have been out there.
DEMASI: What was the delay?
JEFFERSON: For some unknown reason, Cochrane decided it needed an “extra” peer-review. And then they forced us to insert unnecessary text phrases in the review like “this review doesn’t contain any covid-19 trials,” when it was obvious to anyone reading the study that the cut-off date was January 2020.
DEMASI: Do you think Cochrane intentionally delayed that 2020 review?
JEFFERSON: During those 7 months, other researchers at Cochrane produced some unacceptable pieces of work, using unacceptable studies, that gave the “right answer”.
DEMASI: What do you mean by “the right answer”? Are you suggesting that Cochrane was pro-mask, and that your review contradicted the narrative. Is that your intuition?
JEFFERSON: Yes, I think that is what was going on. After the 7-month delay, Cochrane then published an editorial to accompany our review. The main message of that editorial was that you can’t sit on your hands, you’ve got to do something, you can’t wait for good evidence…. it’s a complete subversion of the ‘precautionary principle’ which states that you should do nothing unless you have reasonable evidence that benefits outweigh the harms.
Hele interviewet kan læses her.