Untested COVID-19 therapies may do more harm than good

Doctors have published a correspondence article warning that untested COVID-19 treatments may do more harm than good.

The authors from Northwestern University found an increase in the use of untested therapies and treatments and those where scant evidence or rationale for their effectiveness exists.

Unfortunately, without the use of standard clinical trials, physicians using novel treatments are faced with a situation like this:

If a patient recovers after treatment with a novel therapy, a doctor may suppose that the recovery was due to the novel therapy. This might encourage other doctors to make use of it.

However, without a randomized, controlled trial to confirm this outcome, it is not possible to draw such a conclusion. It may be a coincidence that the person got better, or perhaps they were lucky not to experience any adverse effects. The next patient may not be so fortunate.