“The Lancet”: specialist journal distances itself from study to malaria drug

June 2020 Zeit; According to a publication, hydroxychloroquine should not work in corona patients and have possible serious side effects. There are now doubts about the study.

Due to criticism of the methodology and data collection for a study on the use of hydroxychloroquine as a corona drug, the journal The Lancet has distanced itself from its publication. In an official warning, the renowned specialist magazine informed its readers that “serious scientific questions” had been raised in the study. Even if the study is not withdrawn, the warning raises considerable doubts about the investigation.

The Lancet published the study on May 22nd. They came to the conclusion that hydroxychloroquine and the related active ingredient chloroquine not only had no benefit for Covid 19 patients, but may even increase the risk of death due to severe side effects. As a result, several countries had banned the treatment of Covid 19 sufferers with the malaria drug, and the World Health Organization (WHO) suspended clinical trials with the drug with reference to the study.

A week later, several researchers from around the world expressed skepticism about the study in an open letter. Their in-depth reviews have “raised concerns about both methodology and data collection,” they said. The open letter contains a long list of points that are problematic from the point of view of the signatories.

Collected data are checked

For the study, scientists from Harvard Medical School in Boston and the University Hospital in Zurich evaluated the data from 96,000 patients in hundreds of hospitals worldwide. The data came from the US company Surgisphere, which claims to specialize in the analysis of health data. In their open letter, the researchers criticized, among other things, that other scientists had no access to the raw data. Nothing is said about the countries and hospitals from which the data come.

The journal now points out that it has commissioned the authors of the study, who are not affiliated with Surgisphere, to review the data. The result should be certain soon. “As soon as we have more information, we will update the notice,” it continues.

French physician Gilbert Deray already sees the study “on the way to being withdrawn”. This would be a disaster, Deray said on Twitter. He warned against linking scientific studies with media interest: “The urgency of the pandemic does not justify mediocre studies”.

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