New research into COVID-19 drugs begins after 2 major medical studies retracted

DETROIT – Two medical studies -- including one on hydroxychloroquine, the controversial antimalaria drug -- have been retracted after the authors said they no longer can vouch for the accuracy of the data.

ORIGINAL STORY: New COVID-19 studies raise flags, under audit

The medical journal “The Lancet” retracted a large, widely publicized study about the use of hydroxychloroquine due to possible flaws in the research data. The study, published two weeks ago, found there was no benefit to COVID-19 patients from the drug and suggested it could increase the risk of heart arrhythmia and death.

An independent review was launched to confirm the findings after several concerns were raised with "respect to the veracity of the data.”

The health care analytics company involved, Surgisphere Corp., would not provide access to all of its data and claimed it would violate client agreements and confidentiality requirements.

As a result, the study authors said they “can no longer vouch for the veracity of the primary data sources.”

The New England Journal of Medicine also retracted a separate study which relied on data from Surgisphere that suggested certain blood pressure drugs did not increase the risk from COVID-19.

The World Health Organization had paused its trial of hydroxychloroquine after the Lancet study was published, but after conducting its own evaluation, that research has resumed.

“On the basis of the available mortality data, the members of the committee recommended that there are no reasons to modify the trial protocol,” said WHO director Dr. Tedros Ghebreyeys. “The executive group received this recommendation and endorsed the continuation of all arms of solidarity trial, including hydroxychloroquine.”

Medical experts emphasized the retraction does not mean hydroxychloroquine does or does not work for COVID-19 patients.

Several other studies involving the drug are still ongoing.

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