Member #42 if by Bus
- May 19, 2020
- Member Number
- Jackson, MS USA
The authors of a sensational paper that last month reported dismal findings about the use of chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine to treat Covid-19 patients have retracted their report after the data that it was based on was called into question.
The paper, published in The Lancet in May, led to the suspension of some clinical trials of the medications, including by the World Health Organization. (Some have since resumed.)
The drug has been repeatedly promoted by President Trump, despite the lack of evidence that it is effective against the virus. He has said that he had taken it himself to try to ward off infection, even though the Food and Drug Administration had issued a safety warning that it could cause dangerous abnormalities in heart rhythm in coronavirus patients.
The retracted Lancet paper was not the only study that called the drug’s effectiveness into question. A more rigorous study — the first large controlled clinical trial of hydroxychloroquine — found that hydroxychloroquine did not prevent Covid-19 in a randomized test of 821 people who had been exposed to patients infected with the virus.
The Lancet paper, which was purportedly based on data from a huge, privately held registry of patient records from hundreds of hospitals around the world, had concluded that the anti-malaria drugs were associated with dramatically higher rates of heart arrhythmias and deaths in Covid-19 patients.
The database belonged to a company called Surgisphere, which is owned by Dr. Sapan Desai, one of the four co-authors.
The other three co-authors, including Dr. Mandeep R. Mehra, a professor at Harvard Medical School, retracted the article on Thursday after their attempt to verify the database’s veracity and authenticity were stymied by Dr. Desai.
“We launched an independent third-party peer review of Surgisphere with the consent of Sapan Desai to evaluate the origination of the database elements, to confirm the completeness of the database, and to replicate the analyses presented in the paper,” their statement said.
“Our independent peer reviewers informed us that Surgisphere would not transfer the full dataset, client contracts, and the full ISO audit report to their servers for analysis as such transfer would violate client agreements and confidentiality requirements.”
Controversy over the provenance of the database and inconsistencies in the patient records has been rising in scientific circles since publication of the study.