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Lancet Gate

A question of data

On 22 May 2020, 4 researchers published a large study in The Lancet journal.They described the analysis of more than 96,000 cases of COVID-19 infection and hospitalization in 671 different centers around the world. Almost 15 thousand of the observed patients received one of the drugs - chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine - alone or in combination with an antibiotic.

The Publication

Researchers concluded that taking these drugs, with or without antibiotics, did not benefit COVID-19 patients, but could increase the risk of serious arrhythmias and death.

These results caused so much concern that the World Health Organization (WHO) announced the suspension of all research on hydroxychloroquine conducted within the international clinical trial called Solidarity.

The suspension of research

However, independent experts questioned the reliability of the research, which ultimately led to the withdrawal of publication and resumption of research on the drug by WHO.

The doubt

The reason for the withdrawal of the articles was serious doubts about the reliability of the data provided in this work.These data came from an American analytical company called Surgisphere Corporation.

More than 200 clinicians and researchers called for the publication of raw data for independent analysis, as well as the publication of reviews of the work received by The Lancet in an open letter. Surgisphere Corporation was unable to explain exactly how and where the data was collected and refused to cooperate in any way, claiming that this would violate confidentiality agreements.

the impossibility of verifying the data


In a note published by The Lancet, the authors of the paper admitted that they too were unable to provide independent verification of the data on the basis of which they drew key conclusions from the study. Finally, The Lancet announced on Thursday 4 June the withdrawal of the study published on 22 May.The publication of the same group of authors, which appeared in The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM), faced a similar fate. Once again, there were doubts about the quality of the data. The NEJM in turn retracted the article relating to COVID-19.

the withdrawal of the study on hydroxychloroquine