Collider bias undermines our understanding of COVID-19 disease risk and severity
Tim T. Morris,
Gemma C Sharp,
Tom M Palmer,
George Davey Smith,
Neil M Davies,
Posted 08 May 2020
medRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2020.05.04.20090506
Posted 08 May 2020
Observational data on COVID-19 including hypothesised risk factors for infection and progression are accruing rapidly, often from non-random sampling such as hospital admissions, targeted testing or voluntary participation. Here, we highlight the challenge of interpreting observational evidence from such samples of the population, which may be affected by collider bias. We illustrate these issues using data from the UK Biobank in which individuals tested for COVID-19 are highly selected for a wide range of genetic, behavioural, cardiovascular, demographic, and anthropometric traits. We discuss the sampling mechanisms that leave aetiological studies of COVID-19 infection and progression particularly susceptible to collider bias. We also describe several tools and strategies that could help mitigate the effects of collider bias in extant studies of COVID-19 and make available a web app for performing sensitivity analyses. While bias due to non-random sampling should be explored in existing studies, the optimal way to mitigate the problem is to use appropriate sampling strategies at the study design stage.
- Downloaded 12,757 times
- Download rankings, all-time:
- Site-wide: 758
- In epidemiology: 110
- Year to date:
- Site-wide: 2,793
- Since beginning of last month:
- Site-wide: 3,102
Downloads over time
Distribution of downloads per paper, site-wide
- 27 Nov 2020: The website and API now include results pulled from medRxiv as well as bioRxiv.
- 18 Dec 2019: We're pleased to announce PanLingua, a new tool that enables you to search for machine-translated bioRxiv preprints using more than 100 different languages.
- 21 May 2019: PLOS Biology has published a community page about Rxivist.org and its design.
- 10 May 2019: The paper analyzing the Rxivist dataset has been published at eLife.
- 1 Mar 2019: We now have summary statistics about bioRxiv downloads and submissions.
- 8 Feb 2019: Data from Altmetric is now available on the Rxivist details page for every preprint. Look for the "donut" under the download metrics.
- 30 Jan 2019: preLights has featured the Rxivist preprint and written about our findings.
- 22 Jan 2019: Nature just published an article about Rxivist and our data.
- 13 Jan 2019: The Rxivist preprint is live!