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Mind the Knowledge Gap

A new study in the New England Journal of Medicine shows that there are still places where we could use a little more knowledge, says Yale cardiologist Harlan Krumholz in Forbes. The study compares different ways of using diuretics to treat patients with heart failure, but what it really shows, Krumholz says, is the need for more comparative effectiveness research. Heart failure is not a new condition, and diuretics are not a new drug, so why is it — 45 years after the pills were invented — that doctors still don't know how to use them, he asks. "This gap in knowledge is what comparative effectiveness studies are intended to address," Krumholz says. "Our dire need is to illuminate the many areas of darkness that still exist in medicine, where we are practicing based on our intuition and knowledge of basic biology — but with little understanding of the benefits and risks of alternative approaches." Researchers need to do more studies like the one in NEJM, he adds, so that it doesn't take 50 years for medicine to learn how to most effectively use a good drug.

The Scan

Not as High as Hoped

The Associated Press says initial results from a trial of CureVac's SARS-CoV-2 vaccine suggests low effectiveness in preventing COVID-19.

Finding Freshwater DNA

A new research project plans to use eDNA sampling to analyze freshwater rivers across the world, the Guardian reports.

Rise in Payments

Kaiser Health News investigates the rise of payments made by medical device companies to surgeons that could be in violation of anti-kickback laws.

Nature Papers Present Ginkgo Biloba Genome Assembly, Collection of Polygenic Indexes, More

In Nature this week: a nearly complete Ginkgo biloba genome assembly, polygenic indexes for dozens of phenotypes, and more.