Source: Fusion Medical Animation/Unsplash The COVID-19 pandemic has led many people to directly engage with biomedical research studies—often for the first time in their lives—in the search for answers, understanding, and hope. The official guidelines provided by national, state, and local governments and health officials are critically important, but generally do not include much beyond rules, regulations, and recommendations. These in turn are informed by relevant epidemiological information such as case counts that are regularly reported by news outlets and can be directly accessed on academic and government websites. Finally, the swirling cesspool of dangerous conspiracy theories presented in various online forums can serve as a harmful distraction for those grasping for a feeling of control in these uncertain times. But given the rapidly changing nature of the pandemic, diagnostic and therapeutic developments, and the ultimate hope for a suitable vaccine, biomedical research data is being accessed by the non-scientist—whether through clicking on links in news stories or by direct web searches. Before discussing the benefits, and potential pitfalls, of engaging with primary research, it is important to consider how science gets done. Historically it was common to consider a divide between the “pure” basic science research conducted within academic institutions, and the… Read full this story
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