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Old September 21st, 2006, 10:32 PM
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Default SRAS: l'ignorance tue


Le 21 septembre 2006

SRAS: l'ignorance tue

(Agence Science-Presse) - Il y a maintenant quatre ans que le virus du SRAS a engendré une panique internationale. Et pourtant, réalisent les chercheurs, très peu d’informations utiles ont été récoltées à son sujet. Un constat lourd de leçons pour la période actuelle, dominée par la grippe aviaire.
Syndrome respiratoire aigu sévère, de son vrai nom. Il a fait le tour du monde en 2002-2003, infectant plus de 8000 personnes –au moins 300 fois plus que la grippe aviaire!– et en tuant 700. Sur le coup, de multiples traitements ont été expérimentés, les chercheurs et les médecins se retrouvant face à un ennemi que personne n’arrivait à cataloguer –au contraire de la grippe aviaire, qui a au moins l’avantage d’être une cousine de la grippe bien connue.
Or, l’épidémiologiste Lauren Stockman et ses collègues du Centre de contrôle des maladies d’Atlanta ont passé au crible la littérature scientifique ayant résulté de ces traitements expérimentaux contre le SRAS. Ces expériences ont elles-mêmes conduit à 54 études cliniques, c’est-à-dire 54 traitements testés sur des humains : pour une seule et même maladie, c’est beaucoup, et pourtant, sur ces 54 études cliniques, la majorité n’ont rien trouvé de concluant et huit ont même relevé des effets secondaires importants.
Ce constat paraît dans la dernière édition de la revue Public Library of Science — Medicine.
Cela n’élimine pas la possibilité que certains de ces médicaments soient efficaces contre le SRAS. Mais compte tenu des efforts énormes investis, il est étonnant qu’on n’en sache pas plus, jugent les chercheurs.
Une des raisons : dans la précipitation, on n’a pas organisé ces essais cliniques avec la même rigueur que d’habitude. Alors qu’en temps normal, un groupe de " cobayes " reçoit le médicament à tester, et un autre groupe reçoit un placebo, certains des chercheurs, placés devant le dilemme éthique d’une infection qui était potentiellement mortelle, ont préféré donner à tout le monde le médicament à tester. De là les résultats peu concluants: quel est le degré d’efficacité réel du médicament? En l’absence de base de comparaison, nul ne peut le dire.
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