2 top medical journals are reviewing major studies they
published on potential COVID-19 treatments (including
hydroxychloroquine) after questions about their data surfaced
The papers in The Lancet and the New England Journal of Medicine shared a
common source: A little-known company called Surgisphere.
"expression of concern" acknowledges that “important
scientific questions have been raised about data” in a May 22
study that cast doubt on the benefits of hydroxycholoroquine
for COVID-19 patients—and suggested it could even be deadly. The news put
the brakes on large randomized trials drug trials. The Lancet announced
that an independent audit of the data is underway.
Nicholas White, a malaria researcher at Mahidol University in Bangkok, is
one of the researchers who noticed red flags including details about
patient demographics that didn’t add up. “It began to stretch and stretch
and stretch credulity,” he says.
Another paper, published in the New
England Journal of Medicine on May 1, indicated that certain
blood pressure drugs did not appear to increase the death risk for
COVID-19 patients—also relied on Surgisphere data. The NEJM also issued an EOC indicating
that they are seeking evidence of the data’s reliability from the study
Surgisphere has not publicly released the data underlying the studies,
but is in discussions to provide the study authors with additional
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