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The Dangers of Unproven COVID-19 Therapies with Benjamin Singer, MD

While the world anxiously awaits a vaccine for COVID-19, some physicians on the front lines are trying new or repurposed therapies in an effort to help COVID patients. Benjamin Singer, MD, a Northwestern physician-scientist, discusses his experiences in the ICU during this time and his recently published letter warning against the use of unproven therapies.


Benjamin Singer, MD

"We need to fall back on the core principles that we've all been trained to follow, which are to do no harm and its corollary, which is to provide the therapies to our patients that we know are beneficial."

—  Benjamin Singer, MD

  • Assistant Professor of Medicine in the Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care
  • Assistant Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics
  • Member of Northwestern University Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute
  • Member of Simpson Querrey Center for Epigenetics

Episode Notes

In late April 2020, almost half of filled ICU beds in Illinois were COVID-19 patients. Benjamin Singer, MD, details the pressures physicians are experiencing that may cause some to stray from standards of critical care. He talks about some of the agents being administered to patients outside of controlled trials and why this practice is troubling.

In his lab at Feinberg, Singer studies treatments for acute respiratory distress syndrome or ARDS, a lung condition that is responsible for the deaths of tens of thousands of people every year. He also shares evidence-supported ARDS management strategies that, he says, should be considered when treating COVID-19 patients.

Additional Reading: 

  • Read the letter, "A Call for Rational Intensive Care in the Era of COVID-19," written by Singer and colleagues and published in The American Journal of Respiratory Cell and Molecular Biology.
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Recorded on: April 30, 2020

Continuing Medical Education Credit

Physicians who listen to this podcast may claim continuing medical education credit after listening to an episode of this program.

Target Audience

Academic/Research, Multiple specialties

Learning Objectives

At the conclusion of this activity, participants will be able to:

  1. Identify the research interests and initiatives of Feinberg faculty.
  2. Discuss new updates in clinical and translational research.
Accreditation Statement

The Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) to provide continuing medical education for physicians.

Credit Designation Statement

The Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine designates this Enduring Material for a maximum of 0.25 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s)™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

Disclosure Statement

Benjamin Singer, MD, has nothing to disclose. Course director, Robert Rosa, MD, has nothing to disclose. Planning committee member, Erin Spain, has nothing to disclose. Feinberg School of Medicine's CME Leadership and Staff have nothing to disclose: Clara J. Schroedl, MD, Medical Director of CME, Sheryl Corey, Manager of CME, Jennifer Banys, Senior Program Administrator, Allison McCollum, Senior Program Coordinator, and Rhea Alexis Banks, Administrative Assistant 2.

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