Major Hydroxychloroquine Study Retracted: ‘We Deeply Apologize’

Major Hydroxychloroquine Study Retracted: ‘We Deeply Apologize’

The US president, Donald Trump was among those who backed the drug before any high-quality trial evidence had been published.

Surgisphere founder Sapan Desai, MD, PhD, was the paper's fourth author; he did not participate in the retraction request to The Lancet.

"The trial steering committee for Ascot strongly supports the ongoing need for data from randomised clinical trials in order to clarify the efficacy and safety of hydroxychloroquine in patients hospitalised with Covid-19", he said.

Mentioning the limitations of the research, they said the median age in their study was about the same age as that in other studies of hospitalised patients - 70 years - but since the patients were older, the findings might not apply to younger people with COVID-19.

The finding led the World Health Organisation to suspend clinical trials into the medicines, but it was soon followed by widespread concern among scientists over a lack of information about the countries and hospitals that contributed data.

An article in the respected medical journal The Lancet which found that hydroxychloroquine use increased the risk of death in COVID-19 patients was retracted on Thursday, with the authors admitting they could not "vouch" for the accuracy of their primary sources.

"The executive group received this recommendation and endorsed the continuation of all arms of Solidarity trial including hydroxychloroquine", he said.

In a statement, the authors of the study apologised to the editors and readers for any "embarrassment or inconvenience caused".

Results from one clinical trial at the University of Minnesota have shown that hydroxychloroquine is not effective at preventing coronavirus.

Major Hydroxychloroquine Study Retracted: ‘We Deeply Apologize’

World Health Organization officials said earlier this week its trial of hydroxychloroquine was restarting based on advice from experts and some groups, including British researchers conducting a large trial analyzing the drug, never paused their work.

The statement added that this trial that was run by the University of Oxford would stop "with immediate effect".

Despite the retraction, hydroxychloroquine should still be approached with caution as other studies are still sticking to their conclusions that the drug has little to no effect on Covid-19. About 26 per cent of patients in the trial getting the drug died, compared with about 24 per cent receiving standard care.

Aside from the New England Journal of Medicine and The Lancet, the research was also widely published by major media organisations across the world, with majority citing both organisation's long-standing credibility in the publication of scientific breakthroughs.

There is concern in the scientific community about using such drugs to treat coronavirus.

When an independent third-party peer review of Surgisphere data was initiated with the consent of the co-authors of the study to evaluate the origination of the database, and to replicate the analyses presented in the paper, the peer reviewers said Surgisphere would not transfer the full dataset.

On Wednesday, WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus announced that review was complete and that trial would be able to resume.

The article carried the bylines of four scientists at medical centers in the U.S. Data was analyzed by the firm Surgisphere in Chicago.

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