Nicolalde B, Añazco D, Mushtaq M, Espinosa I, Gimenez J, Teran E. (2020). Pharmacological interventions for the COVID-19 pandemic and the use of preprint articles: The good, the bad and the ugly. Research Square. DOI: https://doi.org/10.21203/rs.3.rs-34689/v1
PERFILES DE AUTORES USFQ:
Bryan Nicolalde y Diego Añazco son alumni USFQ, se graduaron de Doctor en Medicina en la Universidad San Francisco de Quito USFQ (Escuela de Medicina, Colegio de Ciencias de la Salud COCSA).
Mariam Mushtaq, Isabel Espinosa, Jimena Gimenez son estudiantes de la Universidad San Francisco de Quito USFQ (Escuela de Medicina, Colegio de Ciencias de la Salud).
Enrique Terán obtuvo su PhD en Pharmacology en The University of London y es profesor e investigador de la Universidad San Francisco de Quito USFQ (Escuela de Medicina, Colegio de Ciencias de la Salud).
Background: Preprints are preliminary reports that have not been peer-reviewed. On Dec 2019, a novel coronavirus appeared in China, and since then, scientific production, including preprints, has drastically increased. In this study, we intend to evaluate how often preprints regarding pharmacological interventions against COVID-19 were cited, in spite of the fact that some of these preprints remained unpublished. Methods: We conducted a search on medRxiv and bioRxiv to identify preprints related to pharmacological interventions against SARS-CoV-2 from Jan 1st to Mar 31, 2020. We gathered metadata on included preprints and identified if they had been published in a peer-reviewed journal. We performed Mann-Whitney U tests to evaluate if published articles had differences in citation numbers or usage, as defined by PDF downloads and abstract views, when compared to preprints that were not published. Results: Our sample included 97 preprints, of which only 14 were published on peer-reviewed journals and 83 remained unpublished. The most common study designs we found among preprints were basic science research and case series. Published articles had a significantly higher number of citations and metrics (PDF and abstract downloads) when compared to unpublished preprints. Conclusions: The use of preprints during this pandemic has been higher than in previous outbreaks, however, the publication rate in peer-reviewed journals in our sample was low. Preprints should be used as a mean to display preliminary data rapidly in order to obtain feedback by the scientific community, or to guide further research. However, due to the lack of peer-review, and potentially flawed data analysis, preprints alone should not be used to guide clinical practice, as the risk of unwarranted modifications to management is concerning.