An important part of science is admitting when we’re wrong

Florida Volunteers Take Part In COVID-19 Vaccine Trials A volunteer gets a vaccine on August 7, 2020 | Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images

This week started with a whole lot of people getting very angry about someone being wrong on the internet. This time, it was computer scientist Steven Salzberg, who wrote a blog post on Forbes arguing that people should start vaccinating now — phase 3 clinical trials had just started. They seemed to be going well. Why not start passing out doses to willing, informed volunteers?

Well, a whole bunch of reasons, most of which boil down to some variation of that’s what the trials are there for. The evidence that’s needed to move something into the third level of human testing is pretty high — but not high enough to justify use on the broader population, as biostatistician Natalie Dean pointed out in a New York Times rebuttal of the Forbes p…

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Tags: 2020, Computer, covid-19, people, science, tech

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