“The lancet” pulls study on chloroquine and co. Back

The lancet journal has retracted a study on the use of chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine against the new coronavirus.

Three of the four authors pointed out that they could not resolve doubts about the accuracy of the data they used, according to the journal on thursday evening. Numerous studies are underway to test the efficacy of covid-19, which has been used to treat malaria, against the lung disease. Previous studies have not provided any reliable evidence that it improves symptoms in patients or shortens the duration of the disease.

According to the now withdrawn study, the two agents were unlikely to be suitable for the treatment of covid-19 and may even increase the death rate and lead to cardiac arrhythmias. The U.S. And swiss researchers, led by mandeep mehra of harvard medical school, had published the study in the lancet on 22. May published. According to study data, they had data from a good 96.000 patients evaluated. Because of the negative results, several studies on chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine had been suspended. The latter is also under particular scrutiny because U.S. President donald trump had repeatedly touted it as a miracle cure.

Before the study was withdrawn, there had been considerable doubts about its publication. "Lancet" itself had already published an official warning ("expression of concern"). It said there were "serious scientific questions" about the data reported by the researchers.

According to the science media center, among the inconsistencies is that the study refers to a higher number of covid-19 patients in australia who died in hospital than were actually reported in australia overall. In addition, the authors claimed to have processed the data of 4402 patients in africa in the study – but critics say it is unlikely that african hospitals could provide detailed electronic health records for so many patients.

The data collection is largely due to chicago-based surgisphere, according to "lancet" reports. According to the company, this was founded in 2008 by sapan desai, who is named as a co-author in the "lancet" study. It obtained electronic, anonymized patient data that came from 1200 health care organizations in 45 countries. The company rejects the accusations in a statement, saying that the data had been carefully collected. For the avoidance of doubt, she says, they will undergo an independent review. Referring to the criticism, surgisphere writes that a clinic that recently joined the database described itself as "belonging to the australasian region". During a check it was now noticed that it rather belonged to the asian area. The results of the "lancet" study remained unaffected.

The process of so-called peer review by reviewers is neither intended nor able to check the quality of underlying data, said ulrich dirnagl, director of the department of experimental neurology at the charite in berlin, who was not involved in the studies. "Often it remains a kind of "reality check" of the scientific question of the scientific question, the methodology used and the results."In times of a pandemic, when researchers and journals were trying to publish under extreme time pressure, the review process was even less able to detect errors and manipulation," he said. There are currently plenty of studies with poorly collected or insufficient data, he criticized.

The world health organization (WHO) had already announced on wednesday that suspended tests with hydroxychloroquine in covid 19 sufferers will be resumed. The remedy is part of a WHO-coordinated research series involving more than 3500 patients in 35 countries. These experiments had also been temporarily suspended at the end of may following the "lancet" study.

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