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Huge Lancet study that was used to stop HCQ trials has been retracted

We discussed the inadequacies of the large Lancet study of hydroxychloroquine supposed used on 96,000 Covid patients from 671 hospitals. It was largely useless because it ignored zinc, wasn’t randomized and was mainly used on people who were already very ill, with a terrible 12% death rate. But it is far worse than that and has now been retracted. The number of deaths listed in Australia was higher than the official Australian tally on April 21. The number of Covid cases in Turkey was 80 times higher than official numbers.

All over the world the study spooked doctors and governments (with WHO help) into stopping the use of HCQ in their large trial across in 17 countries .That trial has since been restarted.

The authors have now retracted the paper after Surgisphere refused to transfer the full dataset “due to confidentiality”.

The Guardian investigated the company that came out of nowhere with this enormous dataset which was used in both The Lancet paper and a New England Medical Journal paper. It turned out to be small,  with a handful of employees and that include a science fiction writer, an adult content model, and few scientific qualifications.  When The Guardian contacted the Australian hospitals that were supposedly included, they denied any role in the database. The firms CEO, Sepan Desai  was listed as a co-author. When asked how the company accumulated so much data so quickly, Desai said it was with AI and machine learning.

But look how obviously dodgy this data was. After the Lancet study swept through the media like a breaking wave, will the media now work as hard to undo that news?

Surgisphere’s data called into question

by Elizabeth Hlavinka, and Amanda D’Ambrosio, Staff Writer, MedPage Today

Alarms were first sounded about a recent Lancet study on hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) and chloroquine for COVID-19 that appeared to have surprisingly high mortality rates overall. Researchers were also concerned that Surgisphere’s number of COVID-19 deaths in Australia exceeded the country’s published total.

Questions have been raised about Surgisphere, a data collection company founded by Sapan Desai, MD, PhD, that says it gathers and stores de-identified electronic health record data from 1,200 healthcare organizations in 45 countries.

Similar questions were raised about a New England Journal of Medicine study that found common blood pressure medications were not associated with in-hospital death among hospitalized patients with COVID-19, assuaging concerns about a possible harmful association. In that study, the number of COVID-19 cases Surgisphere counted in Turkey in mid-March was vastly greater than official numbers at the time — by a factor of about 80, according to a series of Twitter posts by Mike Johansen, MD, of Grant Family Medicine in Columbus, Ohio.

“At this point, there appear two viable options: the analysis and/or data were of such poor quality that it would render the studies unsuitable for publication, or the studies are derived from falsified data,” Johansen told MedPage Today in an email. “Two of the world’s most prestigious medical journals published studies by the same group of authors that are, at best, of no value with numerous obvious errors.”

Welcome to the world of politicized science.

Medical commentators like John Campbell are calling this a crisis of trust regarding the WHO and science and medical papers. For those of us used to dealing with climate science it’s old news that once politics infects science the integrity of  hallowed peer review collapses in an instant. Though it’s interesting to note that The Guardian appears to be useful on this topic. If only they hadn’t already predetermined what all their “climate change” investigation would discover.

Geoff Chambers, in France, notes the influence of a French doctor and French news:

The fact that it was a French popular newspaper which broke the story that the Lancet is a fake news source is a story in itself. In the Anglo-Saxon media, hydroxychlorocquine is the Trump/Bolsinaro fake cure. In France it’s the Professor Raoult prescription. Professor Raoult’s latest Tuesday interview can be found here.

I may translate a bit if I find the energy. He speaks fast and loose. The high point is when the interviewer suggests that he has been attacked by “the élite.” “No,” replies Raoul, “I’m the élite” (and he rattles off all his academic successes) “Those who attack me are the failures, the second rate.” (He also has it in for the British Medical Journal, if I heard aright. That’s two of the most serious world medical authorities treated as fake news sources.)

If climate science had just one sceptic with the insolent authority of Professor Raoult we wouldn’t be where we are. But “we” are Anglo Saxon, watching from afar the official story being demolished by a bunch of ignorant frogs, much as we watched the Bastille being toppled all those years ago. French libel laws are less – inquisitional – than British ones. If the Lancet publishes shit you’re allowed in France to say: “The Lancet is publishing shit.”

Note that the WHO determination to stop HCQ trials doesn’t mean HCQ is a magic bullet either. Only HCQ studies can show that. More on that later.

h/t  Chris Dawson, David B, RickDre, Yonason, Greame#4, Slithers, Furiously Curious, Roger Knights, PeterC, Geoff Chambers.

REFERENCE

Mehra MR, et al “Hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine with or without a macrolide for treatment of COVID-19: a multinational registry analysis” Lancet 2020; DOI: 10.1016/S0140-6736(20)31180-6.

https://www.thelancet.com/lancet/article/s0140673620311806

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Rating: 9.5/10 (62 votes cast)
Huge Lancet study that was used to stop HCQ trials has been retracted, 9.5 out of 10 based on 62 ratings

65 comments to Huge Lancet study that was used to stop HCQ trials has been retracted

  • #
    MyOwn

    sent this to richard horton at the lancet on the 28th of the 5th

    you might want to verify surgisphere before somone else does. If I found below and I am only a NOOB imagine what a real investigator could find. The data and origins of this paper are suspect. It looks to be a front to generate business and cash in on the current crises

    Surgisphere Corporation filed as a Domestic For-Profit Corporation in the State of Texas and is no longer active. This corporate entity was filed approximately eight years ago on Thursday, June 28, 2012 , according to public records filed with Texas Secretary of State.
    under the names Nikita Desai and Sapan Desai
    https://www.corporationwiki.com/Texas/Houston/surgisphere-corporation/107670034.aspx

    The address given in the paper is a, For rent-shared office space. basically a cubicle
    https://www.iraq.regus.com/office-space/united-states/illinois/chicago/illinois-chicago-john-hancock-center

    ISO register has no entry for surgisphere under 9001
    http://isoregister.info/

    Dunn and brad street show it only in Houston TX which per above is now defunct
    https://creditreports.dnb.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/IballValidationCmd?storeId=11654&catalogId=70010&productId=0&searchType=BSF&state=TX&busName=SURGISPHERE%20CORPORATION&city=&country=US

    the only reply for surgisphere in IL is 31 polo Dr South Barrington IL and links to a company
    called QUARTZCLINICAL https://www.quartzclinical.com/ ring a bell from the paper
    QUARTZ CLINICAL makes no statement in regards to a massive world wide hospital patient data collection scenario and also does not state any partners. Hospitals wont be giving away this info for free it would be costing millions to get this data.

    bloomberg states the company is in TX but TX states the company is no longer active as per above

    and the funniest thing crunchbase shows that surgisphere has 11 to 50 employees but the contact email for the company is down as the CEO [email protected]. I would think the first thing you would do on the 31st floor would be to hire a person to fill the front desk to deal with all of those clients and also have a generic email address to deal with all general email IE: [email protected] other wise the CEO would get spammed

    80

    • #

      Sorry your comment got stuck in Spam. Well done. Horton must have had a full intray himself.

      It all helps. Emails like yours would make any editor uneasy.

      50

  • #
    James Murphy

    I’m pleased to see flawed work retracted, but I cant help but feel it is too little, too late. If the current peer review process was as robust and unsullied as the anti-science brigade claim it is, then why weren’t such glaring errors picked up? As a start, using ‘confidentiality’ as an excuse to avoid releasing data is unacceptable when looking at large datasets collated from many sources. It does not take a genius to remove information which could be used to identify individuals, and if the people providing data didnt want it published, they shouldn’t have released it. Of course, this would be relevant if said data actually existed… which again, should have been picked up by any partial competent reviewer.

    Probably the most surprising thing about this is that even The Guardian thinks something is awry, though their ‘investigation’ is little more than a review of social media statistics.

    Trump Derangement Syndrome may well have a mortality rate, just not amongst the sufferers.

    290

    • #

      The consequence of politics subverting science has been to morph peer review from looking for holes in the science to looking for deviations from a political narrative. I’m just surprised this corrupt study was retracted so quickly.

      Why aren’t climate scientists as ethical when it comes to retracting bad science once it’s uncovered? Could it be that it would mean the entire body of climate research supporting the CAGW meme would need to be retracted? Perhaps it’s because of the existential threat to progressive politics that legitimate climate science would cause.

      111

  • #

    …. and, as with every paper that ever gets retracted, one has to ask, ‘What was the role of peer review – the so-called gold standard of scientific research – in getting this paper published?’ If annonymous peer review was claimed in the case of this retracted paper, it once again shows the appalling inadequacy of peer review as a confirmation of anything. Let’s put an open process of replication back to the top of the list of things that establish the credibility of a piece of research.

    300

    • #
      Brian the Engineer

      Seriously does anyone think this was peer reviewed. Just reading the CVs of the authors would invalidate it. Just TDS

      120

    • #
      Komrade Kuma

      It reminds me of the stinker of a paper about civilian causalties in the post Iraq invasion insurgency some 17 years ago that the Lancet published without even bothering with peer review cos like it was so important to get it out there after the first battle of Fallujah and the Abu Graib scandal in early-mid 2004, i.e. in the lead up to the presidential election.

      The BS casualty numbers were extrapolated from sample set that was totally dominated by a handfull of ‘hotspot’ cities where major insurgencies had occurred and the study just happened to ‘randomly’ select as a sample site. It was risible in statistical terms, totally contradicted by actual counted numbers of deaths by even anti invasion outfits like Iraq Body Count and was as plain as day just anti-US, anti-Bush propaganda.

      Just glad I’m not a doctor is all I can say. Who needs politicised propaganda posing as a professional publication?

      92

    • #
      Lawrie

      Good to see you are still an active investigator David. And investigating from the conservative side but then the left do not investigate only repeat what an “authority” has told them to say. Except in the case of the most powerful man in the world whose authority is considered illegal by those who revel in illegality.

      20

  • #
    TedM

    I wait to hear it on the ABC, and see it on the Guardian front page.

    I suspect it will be a long wait.

    140

  • #
    Ken Davis

    My search for quality information about ME/CFS since 1990 led me very early to the position of a “science” skeptic. This is no surprise. It’s retractions all the way down.

    160

    • #
      Furiously curious

      Hey Ken, This should ring a bell? It’s the 5th(?) anniversary of Jodi Bassett’s death in a few days . Valle Jodi.

      10

  • #
    Another Ian

    Not corona virus but if you want dubious medical publications

    “”What Would We Do Without Peer Review?”

    “Make that eight papers: I present to you the Mysterious Case of the Two Papers With Identical Results.In this thread, we will learn how identical results can obtained in both Gastric Cancer as well as in Lung Cancer.”

    http://www.smalldeadanimals.com/index.php/2020/05/31/what-would-we-do-without-peer-review-10/

    81

  • #

    Murder will out! H/t Geoffrey Chaucer…

    ‘Lo, howe that thou biwreyest mordre alway!
    Mordre wol out, that se we day by day.
    Mordre is so wlatsom and abhomynable
    To God that is so just and resonable,
    That he ne wol nat suffre it heled be,
    Though it abyde a yeer, or two, or thre.
    Mordre wol out, this my conclusioun.’

    80

  • #
    Kalm Keith

    Kalm Keith. June 5,
    The “study” was a meta-analysis, always a very carefree type of research that often overlooks confounding factors from each source.

    Kalm Keith. June 5,
    Meta analysis is the analysis you have when you are not having an analysis.
    Borrowed data: with various levels of reliability and hidden compounding factors.

    Meta analysis is also very cheap.

    KK

    91

  • #
    nb

    There will always be liars, frauds, grand-standers, snake oil, disinformation, lies by omission. Our hitherto standard news and analysis sources (aka msm) have decided not to stand between us and the nonsense, and, in fact, to privilege some forms of the nonsense.
    The msm no longer adds value. It reduces value. The msm is now a liability.

    151

    • #
      Speedy

      Hi NB. I agree that we need to be more critical of what we see and read in the MSM these days, but The Australian is definitely worth a look. Some of the journalists would be quite at home on the ABC, but at least the overall policy is to give people the information and let them decide what to think.
      Cheers,

      Speedy

      40

  • #
    Bill In Oz

    Meanwhile the the results for the first randomised, double blind, placebo controlled study into ‘Hydroxychloroquine as Post Exposure Prophylaxis’ was published a day or so ago.
    And Dr Campbell in the UK does a 39 minute video talk about it here:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fewIzF1VRTo
    In essence this actual proper study found that it has no beneficial effects for persons infected by the Corona 19 virus.

    This was a study with over 800 people in it.
    And 20% of them were also taking a Zinc supplement
    The Zinc had no beneficial effects.
    Someone needs to draw Pressie ‘Trumpie’s’ attention to this study ASAP.
    Or else Trumpie may get seriously deranged syndrome from Covid 19.
    :-)

    319

    • #
    • #
      Bill In Oz

      How very curious. The Dr Campbell video is 39 minutes long.
      And I posted the link only a short while ago.
      But already 3 people think my comment was worth a red thumb.
      Clearly they have not watched Dr Campbell’s video.
      And exposed their complete blind ignorance..

      PS Dr Campbell also discusses the Lancet study towards the end
      And that it was based on ‘disputed’ data.
      But I guess the three red thumbers did not watch that section either.
      The blindly ignorant have no need !

      216

      • #
        Kalm Keith

        Of course you would be able tell us immediately whether the “testing” was done on two separate cohorts: one infected and the other asymptomatic.

        Wouldn’t you.

        41

        • #
          Bill In Oz

          Once again leading the Charge of unscientific naysaysers Keith ?
          Go watch Dr Campbell yourself.

          07

      • #
        Kalm Keith

        [Duplicate]AD

        20

      • #
        Furiously curious

        The negative studies are coming thick and fast. This was my take on the study you are talking about

        The Minnesota Strawman HCQ Study is in.
        HCQ doesn’t prevent Covid!! Which is a strange conclusion to come to, as it is fairly well known, that it only can work once the virus is trying to reproduce, and is already in the cells. So HCQ is not some sort of throat filter, that can stop the virus getting into the body. The study didn’t take the next step, and check on how badly the different study group’s symptoms, manifested. That would be a useful outcome to study.
        Maybe there have been some misconceptions, that HCQ stops infection, when what it does is mitigate the symptoms. And the malarial countries, with seemingly abnormally low rates of death, may just have high rates of asymptomatic people.

        Now there is a British trial, but no details, but saying it didnt mitigate symptoms.

        50

    • #
      peter

      This study was all about GETTING the disease or symptomatic and not about how severe. It was a good study as far as that was concerned. The efficacy found with HCQ has been that patients don’t get sick enough to need to be hospitalised into ICU, or die. A minor benefit perhaps?

      Further into detail – the Zn and Vit-C taking was accidental or incidental. There was no double-blind or even single-blind administration. There was no administration at all in fact! Patients took (or did not take) their own dosage of Zn or Vit-C, as they wished. What? That’s a severe total lack of control of Zn and Vit-C administration in the study. What dosage did people take? What form of Zn (critical) and Vit C was taken? How frequently, daily, weekly, whenever they remembered? They’re all critical parameters for supplements such as Zn and C. Unlike drugs, micronutrients such as Zn are only effect-causing to a certain level. After that, the body just excretes them as waste.

      In fact, Bill, no dosage of HCQ was apparent to me from the video? Perhaps I missed that part. Dosage of HCQ would also be of critical importance though surely it would have been detailed in the methodology section of the study paper?

      50

      • #
        Bill In Oz

        Yes Peter this study had all those faults.
        But it is the only Randomised double blind with placebo trial which has reported so far.

        PS There would be ethical issues in trying to prevent members of a trial from taking Vitamin C or Zinc.
        in other words they did not attempt to control for these things because of a lack of capacity to do so.

        15

        • #
          peter

          I’m not worried by the ethics. Study-wise they were in no real position to dismiss the effect of Zn supplementation. It’s been known since the 70s from using Vit-C for colds (another coronavirus) that it eased the symptoms a little but didn’t prevent or cure the cold.

          40

    • #
      A C Osborn

      Did you actually bother to investigate the study instead of just listening to Dr Cambell?
      It was a study done over the Internet.
      No Doctors.
      No Control.
      No Patients given drugs as they should be given.
      They were sent the drugs in the post.
      The Study is of people already in contact with Infected Patients and therefeore are either already infected or not.
      What difference will taking HCQ as a prophylactic make if you are already infected one asks?
      This in no meets the requirements of a “Clinical Tril”.

      51

  • #
  • #
    gowest

    Seems Lancet fools and their money were easily parted – they should be forced to do a product recall!

    21

  • #
    Stephen aB

    Of Diddier Raoult, Geoff Chambers writes: He speaks fast and loose. The high point is when the interviewer suggests that he has been attacked by “the élite.” “No,” replies Raoul, “I’m the élite”
    No, he says “we” are the élite, thus extending praise to his colleagues and not ONLY to himself.
    And the interviewer does NOT suggest that he has been attacked by the élite. The interviewer only poses two questions.
    The first at the begining is “What is your opinion vis-a-vis the scandal of these last days…”
    I myself am unsure of the second question posed by the interviewer due to some ambient noise occuring just at that point.

    If Geoff DOES make a translation, I hope it will be accurate considering Prof. Raoult’s interestig remarks made later in the interview.
    Bien cordialement à tous.

    41

  • #
    Deano

    While toasting a crumpet, I did a survey and found that 6 out of 7 dwarfs aren’t happy.

    61

  • #
    nb

    Who would have thought. A Chicago address!
    Surgisphere:
    875 N Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60611

    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21872119
    J Vasc Surg. 2011 Sep;54(3 Suppl):59S-63S. doi: 10.1016/j.jvs.2011.05.111.
    Conflicts of Interest for Medical Publishers and Editors: Protecting the Integrity of Scientific Scholarship
    Sapan S Desai 1, Cynthia K Shortell
    Competition of interest may exist at all levels in the medical publication process. Ensuring the integrity of scientific scholarship involves protecting editorial independence, promoting the use of scientific arbitration boards, promoting transparency throughout all stages of publication, and protecting the relationship between the publisher and its editors through an effective legal framework. It is incumbent upon the publisher, editors, authors, and readers to ensure that the highest standards of scientific scholarship are upheld. Doing so will help reduce fraud and misrepresentation in medical research and increase the trustworthiness of landmark findings in science.

    20

  • #
    Environment Skeptic

    As i now never tire of saying, Corona data is extracted from all kinds of sources, 99% of which are collected without the use of Stephensons Screens ( :) ), poor placement of Corona monitoring stations and no standardised global methods….a joke….just go back to the world of meters and sport related scores..A pandemic of crappy data lol….May as well laugh!!

    31

    • #
      Environment Skeptic

      The only reliable Corona data is the one that is held in one hand prior to saying ‘cheers’… :)

      31

  • #
    Robber

    From today’s Australian:
    Leaders of a large study in the United Kingdom that is rigorously testing the malaria drug hydroxychloroquine and other medicines for hospitalised COVID-19 patients say they will stop putting people on the drug because it’s clear it isn’t helping. Results released overnight from 1,542 patients showed the drug did not reduce deaths, time in the hospital or other factors. After 28 days, 25.7% on hydroxychloroquine had died versus 23.5% given usual care — a difference so small it could have occurred by chance.
    Does a flu vaccine work if you already have a bad case of flu?

    The WHO says the widespread use of face masks or coverings by the general public is still not yet supported by high quality or direct scientific evidence. But it says a growing amount of observational evidence from several countries that have ordered or recommended the wearing of masks, as well as the difficulty of social distancing in many settings, is enough for it to change its advice.

    30

    • #
      Bill In Oz

      Quick someone warn Trump !
      :-)

      010

    • #
      Roger Knights

      “for hospitalised COVID-19 patients”

      That’s not whom it’s meant for.

      40

      • #
        Bill In Oz

        Then exactly whom should it be prescribed for Roger ?

        13

        • #

          Bill, many people think HCQ is best used early, before hospital, in order to prevent people going to hospital. Though it also has an anti-inflammatory aspect. The problem with “anti-inflammatory” is that it could mean so many different things, and in a fight to the death against a virus, we need our immune system, hence some anti-inflammatory actions will make things worse, while others will make it better.

          The immune response and cascade is so complicated with so many subparts that a bucket “anti-inflammatory” which disables some part of the system is not necessarily helpful.

          But in the earliest days of infection (is that pre symptomatic, or first symptoms?) HCQ might act in an antiviral way (with Zn) that helps.

          71

          • #
            Bill In Oz

            Jo I know that this is what is being suggested. When this drug s used to prevent malaria, we know it is ( was in many regions now ) effective and made the difference in outcome.
            No drug = infection with Malaria
            Take drug = No malaria
            And this is my personal experience from a year in Sabah, Malaysia in the 1970′s.

            However with Covid 19 only ~20% become symptomatic and about 5% of them go on to become seriously/mortally ill.
            And we do not know how a given individual person will be affected
            So there then exists the issue of who should take it.
            100% even though 80% are unaffected and have no need for it ?
            20% even though only 5% become seriously ill and the other 15% recover without hospitalisation ?
            Or just the 5% who really become seriously ill and need hospitalisation ?

            This also unfortunately makes it very difficult to do a randomised double blind trial with placebo.
            Too many unknown knowns.

            02

            • #
              Bill In Oz

              Of course we could have government decide that all persons have to take this drug.
              And see if the virus disappears completely.
              But that would be compulsion
              And effectively the same as a vaccine.
              Ummmm ?

              02

    • #
      A C Osborn

      The UK study was conducted by Oxford University.
      The same Oxford University that is producing the COVID-19 Vaccine for the UK with AstraZeneca

      https://www.sciencefocus.com/news/coronavirus-manufacturing-begins-on-millions-of-doses-of-the-oxford-vaccine-candidate/

      No conflict of interest there then?

      31

  • #
    Eddie

    “When asked how the company accumulated so much data so quickly, Desai said it was with AI and machine learning.”

    I guess AI isn’t as smart as it thinks it is.

    40

    • #
      Speedy

      Eddie, my friend. Do not forget that artificial intelligence is no match for natural stupidity.

      Cheers,

      Speedy.

      40

  • #
    Peter C

    Jo, as usual, fills this story out with excellent research and references.
    The state of Science, including medical science is laid bare!

    I am still to see any trials which test Hydroxychloroquine with ZINC as a prophylactic measure, even though this was the treatment which worked on cell cultures in vitro.

    70

  • #
    Bill In Oz

    Meanwhile in the real world people are dying from Covid 19.
    And In Lima, Peru coffins sales for a coffin making business, have boomed 400%
    https://en.mercopress.com/2020/06/05/the-flourishing-business-of-coffin-making-in-peru-with-venezuelan-labor

    We in Australia and New Zealand are so fortunate not to be l this virus’ victims as elsewhere.

    15

    • #
      Kalm Keith

      Yes. We are Civilisation Perfected.

      11

      • #
        Bill In Oz

        No we are not prefect in Australia.
        But we are fortunate.
        And I suggest that the people of Lima, Peru
        Would be very offended
        By your callous, barbaric comment

        06

        • #
          Kalm Keith

          I’m sure that the people of Lima and Peru are eternally thankful and appreciative of your actions in taking offence on their behalf.

          But please don’t misrepresent my comment like that, it smacks of opportunistic virtue signaling on your part since you were the one who used their sad predicament to boost your comment.

          KK

          61

          • #
            Bill In Oz

            I did not misrepresent your comment.
            You wrote it all yourself and intended your meaning.
            As for me, iI merely report the facts.
            You wish to ignore them.
            That is why I name you callous and barbaric.

            03

        • #
          wal1957

          Easily offended much?

          31

        • #
          Another Ian

          Bill

          “No we are not prefect in Australia.”

          But more than enough bloody little Hitlers though

          11

  • #
    John Watt

    Surely this was just another misguided slur on Trump. What surprises me is that WHO led the retraction. Suspect they want the US support money back.

    51

  • #
    A C Osborn

    Western Press do not Headline the use of HCQ to control COVID-19 in New York, India, Turkey, Indonesia & Mauritius.
    It is all negative news.

    50