Authors retract study claiming hydroxychloroquine had fatal side effects
The authors of a study published in the medical journal The Lancet that said taking hydroxychloroquine to treat coronavirus could be fatal retracted their findings Thursday after multiple reports questioned its data.
The database belonged to a small Illinois company called Surgisphere, which is owned by Dr. Sapan Desai, one of four co-authors of the study, and which has a science fiction writer and an adult content model on its small staff, who have little or no medical or science backgrounds.
The other three co-authors, including Dr. Mandeep R. Mehra, a professor at Harvard Medical School, retracted the article after their attempt to verify the data’s accuracy and authenticity were thwarted by Desai, who did not return requests for comment from The Post.
“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, The New York Times reported.
“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,” the authors continued, referring to a type of audit that seeks to determine whether Surgisphere, in this case, actually did what it claimed to do.
The World Health Organization and several world governments changed their coronavirus policies and resumed trials of hydroxychloroquine because they got questionable data from the company, The Guardian reported Wednesday.
Data the Chicago-based company claims to have obtained from more than a thousand hospitals worldwide formed the basis of scientific articles that led to changes in coronavirus treatment policies in several countries.
The company also influenced the decision by the WHO and other research facilities to halt trials of hydroxychloroquine, which President Trump has touted and took as a precaution against coronavirus.
The WHO announced Wednesday that those trials of the anti-malarial drug would now resume.
The Lancet on Tuesday released an “expression of concern” about its published study.
The medical journal said in a statement Thursday that “there are many outstanding questions about Surgisphere and the data that were allegedly included in this study.”
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