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Jan 19 10 tweets 2 min read
The new viral claim is that cannabis can help with COVID-19, due to a few lab-bench studies

I'm interested to know what people think the likelihood of this panning out is (poll in next tweet)
On average, what proportion of compounds that are found to do something in the lab end up having a benefit in actual clinical trials of human beings?
Now, this is a complex question, but it's also enlightening, because the real answer is that it kind of depends
Of the compounds that make it to human trials, around 1 in 5 are successfully licensed. That doesn't mean they 'work', exactly, but that they are approved for use for some condition at some point
This varies WIDELY by discipline. For cancer, less than 4% of drugs are successful, but for infectious disease it's more like 1 in 4 that work
So, we could say 1 in 4, but there's a catch - not all drugs that are tested in a lab make it into human testing at all!
Unfortunately, figures for what proportion of things that work in a petri dish eventually make it into human testing is murky, and it's hard to get a good estimate of the number
I've seen the number 1 in 100 bandied around, but let's assume it is a bit higher, and say that it's really 1 in 20. At that rate, we'd be looking at about 1% of all drugs that work in a petri dish that eventually get licensed to treat human beings
Getting back to the original tweet, this casts the framing in an entirely new light. At best, these compounds have a 25% chance of working - at worse, it's more like 0.25%
On top of that, this is just the likelihood that the drug will be licensed at some point for ANY indication. The likelihood that this specific claim will be true? Probably quite a bit lower

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More from @GidMK

Jan 19
I think the vaccine/COVID myocarditis issue in kids really shows the difference between those reasonably weighing up costs and benefits and those who are either dishonest or not very good at epidemiology 1/n
2/n We know two things with a great deal of certainty for younger people:

1. myocarditis following vaccination is rare
2. myocarditis following COVID-19 is rare
3/n This is probably not a surprise, because myocarditis is rare in younger people regardless of the situation. Here's a study that found an incidence of 2 cases per 100,000 kids each year…
Read 16 tweets
Jan 19
One thing I don't think people realize about 'endemic' COVID, where we have regular seasonal outbreaks that wax and wane, is how damaging THAT situation will probably be
It's hard to estimate the death/severe disease rate for COVID at this point, due to prior infection, vaccination, and better medication use (e.g. fluvoxamine), but we could say that for someone who's been vaccinated/infected, the risk is probably similar to seasonal influenza
But...influenza kills A LOT of people each year. We may not shut down society because of it, but one study found that eliminating seasonal influenza may reduce total mortality in a country by 3-6%…
Read 4 tweets
Jan 17
I don't think weird right-wing people from overseas who pretend to care about borders only when it's convenient to them realize how deeply unpopular Djokovic was here in Australia
This is polling by @theage, as mainstream as media gets here, showing that in a reasonably representative sample the anti-vaccine tennis twat had virtually no support at all. 6 out of 7 voters either didn't care or thought he should fuck off
Problem is, most Australians are very pro-vaccine, hate tall poppies, are a bit touchy about borders, have had a hard time of travelling during the pandemic, and feel very strongly about following rules (especially COVID rules)
Read 7 tweets
Jan 5
One of the more fascinating things when looking at the story of the pandemic is how tribal most arguments have become
Take lockdowns, for example. We have ample evidence that various non-pharmaceutical interventions were not as harmful as initial predictions suggested. It's just not correct at this point to argue that lockdowns have caused enormous death tolls…
We might expect that at some point in the future places that locked down will do worse on some metrics, but based on evidence we also might not. It's very uncertain, because large COVID-19 outbreaks also cause bad things to happen
Read 11 tweets
Dec 29, 2021
I thought I'd put together a short list of terms that, while they may have some formal definition, tell you more about the person using them than conveying any actual meaning in conversation

First up, "cancel culture". Means basically nothing
My perennial favourite, "nanny state". It's only used when people consider a govt intervention to be overreach, but what defines overreach is entirely subjective
Btw, feel free to add your own examples to this list, there are SO MANY
Read 8 tweets
Dec 16, 2021
I think the tales of hydroxychloroquine, ivermectin, and fluvoxamine are such fascinating examples of the problem with accepting low-quality evidence for drugs
The argument for use of HCQ and IVM has always been that they are reasonably safe (true) and so the plausible benefit outweighs any harms. Conversely, until the positive RCTs of fluvox came in, it was FAR less popular because it does have quite a few side-effects
But it appears, at least in the case of HCQ, that there is definitely no benefit and there is a reasonable chance of modest harm. In this case, using the drug has almost certainly caused unnecessary deaths
Read 8 tweets

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