Why Methodology Is Important: Coffee as a Candidate Treatment for COVID-19?

J Clin Med. 2020 Nov 17;9(11):3691. doi: 10.3390/jcm9113691.


Background: During this pandemic situation, some studies have led to hasty conclusions about Corona Virus Disease-19 (COVID-19) treatment, due to a lack of methodology. This pedagogic study aimed to highlight potential biases in research on COVID-19 treatment.

Methods: We evaluate the effect of coffee's active part, 1,3,7-trimethylxanthine (TMX) on patients with COVID-19. A cohort of 93 patients, with a diagnosis of COVID-19 is analyzed.

Results: TMX group and control group included, respectively, 26 and 67 patients. In the TMX group, patients had a median length of stay in hospital of 5.5 days shorter than in the control group (9.5 vs. 15 days, p < 0.05). Patients in the control group were more severe than patients in the TMX group with a significantly higher National Early Warning Score 2 (NEWS-2 score) (8 vs. 6, p = 0.002).

Conclusions: Multiple biases prevents us from concluding to an effect of coffee on COVID-19. Despite an important social pressure during this crisis, methodology and conscientiousness are the best way to avoid hasty conclusions that can be deleterious for patients. Identifier: NCT04395742.

Keywords: coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19); current therapies; methodology; symptomatic treatment; trimethylxanthine.

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT04395742