Compare views #MSCOVID19. Under starters orders…..If you got the slow poke reviewers your manuscript is out of date by the time it arrives.


When COVID19 reared its ugly head profG was keen on getting the biology out there. This was to balance the Association of British Neurologists view, which did not appear to be based on science.

At the time I got a paper to review, which I did within 1 hour of recieving it ( I thought it was important to deal with COVID 19 paper quickly…I have done about 50 since the pandemic started and have tried to turn them around within a day) and returned it. However, I disagreed with some of the views based on what I had read. So I constructively reviewed what was written and suggested acceptence with a few easy changes. However, I bowed out of the review process, as I did not want to have a too and frow with the authors to impose my will/ideas on them and delay the publication un-necessarily..which the journal seems to want. Rather than re-write their review with my ideas, I felt it was better to write our own review and that is what we did. Sadly the editor of the paper I had reviewed, said because I bowed out they would not send my constructive comments back to the authors, so my time was wasted and I will now never review for that journal (set of journals) again….It seems that getting credit for reviewing is the new metric. However, I do not give a toss about getting credit for this activity. I want to be anonymous so I can give an honest, constructive review. I don’t do destructive ones, unlike some aholes. Likewise, I don’t lick some science demigods backside because they are viewed as a demi-god. The paper appeared weeks after ours surfaced.

We selected MSARDS because they promised a fast review. I was asked why not Nature?, Simple..the review was too big. With nearly 200 references rather the usual 30-50 references and discussion of every MS drug, it was too long. We could not do what we wanted in a short review although we had to shorten it before it was accepted. Importantly it had a B cell twist in it and so it would have got refereed to death. Our experience of the B cell story in any high impact factor journal is that it goes to a T cell immunologist ,who feels threatened. They cannot accept anything that does not have T cells at the top of the pyramid and after 5 months of dicking about it gets rejected. Speed was the name of the game. However, until one of the big boys has that eureka moment and discovers memory B cells, I am not bothered about wasting my time with these journals. The people with an open view will read them where ever they are, those without will continue in their own little flat world and when they do have a Eureka moment, they will ignore everything that went before it.

Baker D, Amor S, Kang AS, Schmierer K, Giovannoni G. The underpinning biology relating to multiple sclerosis disease modifying treatments during the COVID-19 pandemic. Mult Scler Relat Disord. 2020;43:102174. doi:10.1016/j.msard.2020.102174. Submitted (April 21), quick off the referees desk (Accepted April 30 after reviewers comments were addressed), and not too much delay by the publisher (Online May 12).

Todays paper was Fast of the blocks (April 17) but stuck in on the referees desk (21 June) and then the publisher (22 July). So the authors of this paper (below) will be sick as dogs with the publication process. However our paper was put online before this paper submitted.

Managing Disease-Modifying Therapies and Breakthrough Activity in Multiple Sclerosis Patients During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Toward an Optimized Approach.Hamdy SM, Abdel-Naseer M, Shehata HS, Hassan A, Elmazny A, Shalaby NM, Abokrysha NT, Kishk NA, Nada MAF, Ahmed SM, Hegazy MI, Mekkawy D, Mourad HS, Abdelalim A, Berger T.Ther Clin Risk Manag. 2020 Jul 22;16:651-662. doi: 10.2147/TCRM.S257714. eCollection 2020

They report a treatment algorithm, but by the time this paper has arrived we knew that the concerns voiced were not the clinical reality.


The emergence of the novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has become a major public health challenge of global concern since December 2019, when the virus was recognized in Wuhan, the capital city of Hubei province in China and epicenter of the COVID-19 epidemic. Given the novelty of COVID-19 and the lack of specific anti-virus therapies, the current management is essentially supportive. There is an absence of consensus on guidelines or treatment strategies for complex disorders such as multiple sclerosis (MS), in which the risk of infections is higher than in the general population. This is due to the overall impairment of the immune system typical of autoimmune diseases, in addition to accumulation of disabilities, and the iatrogenic effect generated by corticosteroids and the recommended disease-modifying therapies (DMTs). DMTs have different modes of action, but all modulate and interfere with the patient’s immune response, thereby raising concerns about adverse effects, such as an increased susceptibility to infections. In this review, we analyze the evidence for use of DMTs during the current critical period and ratify an algorithmic approach for management to optimize care between keeping DMTs, with their infection hazards, or coming off them, with the risk of disease activation. We also provide an algorithmic approach to the management of breakthrough activity during the COVID-19 pandemic

The problem is that the World has moved on and the paper is no longer based on science reality and if the reviewing process is too slow then the paper is not worth the paper it was written on.

I know some of you won’t care this

About the author



  • Hi Mousedoctor

    My name is Janet Brockbank and I’m nearly 52 and have RRMS, what hopes are there for a cure and I know I’m being silly?

    Regards, Janet B

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