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Studies of potential treatments for COVID-19 need to be both large and collaborative, an editorial at Nature argues.

As part of the frenzy to search for a treatment, numerous small studies have been launched, but the results from many of these, it says, are hard to interpret. For instance, the Nature editors note that a handful of studies recently released reported conflicting results regarding whether remdesivir might be an effective COVID-19 treatment — the Food and Drug Administration issued an Emergency Use Authorization for remdesivir earlier this month — and studies of hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine have similarly had unclear results.

The Nature editorial says that while there's a place for small, initial studies, it argues that larger studies are then needed. It points to the REMAP-CAP study as an example, noting that it is investigating a number of COVID-19 treatments using a sophisticated trial design and involves 160 sites in 14 countries.

"It's important to move quickly to larger, collaborative trials — ones that span borders and share expertise — that have a greater chance of showing what really works," the editorial says.