Influential study on hydroxychloroquine withdrawn

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An influential article that found hydroxychloroquine increases the risk of death in coronavirus patients has been retracted over data concerns.

Three of the study’s authors said they could not longer vouch for its veracity because Surgisphere, a healthcare firm behind the data, would not allow an independent review of its dataset.

Its findings led the WHO to suspend its testing on the anti-malaria drug.

But leaders including US President Donald Trump continue to tout its use.

Surgisphere chief executive Sapan Desai, the study’s fourth author, told The Guardian newspaper he would co-operate with an independent audit but said transferring the data would “violate client agreements and confidentiality requirements”.

Research for the article, published last month in medical journal The Lancet, involved 96,000 coronavirus patients across 671 hospitals worldwide. Nearly 15,000 were given hydroxychloroquine – or a related form, chloroquine – either alone or with an antibiotic.

It concluded that the drug showed no benefits against coronavirus and increased the risk patients developing irregular heart rhythms and dying.

Mandeep Mehra, a Harvard University professor who led the study, together with Frank Ruschitzka of the University Hospital Zurich and Amit Patel of the University of Utah, said in a statement that they had tried to arrange for a third-party peer review of the data, but Surgisphere had refused to co-operate.

Read more via The Guardian

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