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Huge Lancet study that was used to stop HCQ trials has been retracted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 But it is far worse than that and has now been retracted.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.


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.


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