Several authors retract study on hydroxychloroquine

Several authors of large study that raised safety concerns about malaria drugs for coronavirus retract the report.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,


Several authors of a large study that raised safety concerns about malaria drugs for coronavirus patients have retracted the report, The Associated Press reported on Thursday, saying independent reviewers were not able to verify information that’s been widely questioned by other scientists.

The retraction in the journal Lancet involved a May 22 report on hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine, drugs long used for preventing or treating malaria but whose safety and effectiveness for COVID-19 are unknown.

The study leaders also retracted an earlier report using the same company’s database on blood pressure drugs published by the New England Journal of Medicine. That study suggested that widely used blood pressure medicines were safe for coronavirus patients, a conclusion some other studies and heart doctor groups also have reached.

Following the publication of the Lancet report, the World Health Organization announced that it would be temporarily halting the use of hydroxychloroquine part of its global Solidarity trial amid a safety review.

The French health ministry later also announced it would be banning the use of hydroxychloroquine as a cure for coronavirus.

The use of hydroxychloroquine as a treatment for coronavirus has been touted by US President Donald Trump, who revealed in mid-May that he was on a regimen of hydroxychloroquine as a preventive measure.

The Lancet study relied on a database from a Chicago company, Surgisphere. Its founder, Dr. Sapan Desai, is one of the authors.

Dozens of scientists questioned irregularities and improbable findings in the numbers, and the other authors besides Desai said earlier this week that an independent audit would be done. In the retraction notice, those authors say Surgisphere would not give the reviewers the full data, citing confidentiality and client agreements.

“Based on this development, we can no longer vouch for the veracity of the primary data sources” and must retract the report, they wrote, according to AP.

The Lancet’s notice said “there are many outstanding questions about Surgisphere and the data that were allegedly included in this study,” and “institutional reviews of Surgisphere’s research collaborations are urgently needed.”