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Research panning antimalarial Trump to counter COVID faces new questions

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NEW YORK — British medical journal Lancet said Tuesday that there was concern about the data behind the influential article that hydroxychloroquine increases the risk of death in COVID-19 patients, defended by US President Donald Trump. We have come to the conclusion that we have weakened our scientific interest in medicine.

Anti-inflammatory and antiviral hydroxychloroquine inhibited coronavirus in laboratory experiments, but was considered the gold standard for data, especially in placebo-controlled randomized clinical trials, and its effect on humans. Is not proven.

The debate is highly political and many scientists have expressed concern.

Last week, nearly 150 doctors signed an open letter to Lancet, questioning the conclusions of this article and calling for peer-reviewed comments prior to publication.

“This is not a side issue or a minor issue,” said Dr Walid Gerard, a professor of medicine at the University of Pittsburgh, who was not a signer of the letter, but was critical of the study.

“We are facing an unprecedented pandemic. We have organized these large clinical trials to figure out if something will work, and this study has identified some of those trials. Has it stopped or paused and changed the story about a drug that doesn’t know who works?”

An observational study published in Lancet on May 22 examined 96,000 in-hospital COVID-19 patients treated with decades-old malaria medications taken by Trump.

Several clinical trials were withheld after the study was published.

Using the data provided by Surgisphere, a healthcare data analysis company, this study was not a conventional clinical trial comparing hydroxychloroquine with placebo or other drugs.

Lancet’s editors noted that serious scientific questions about the study caught their attention and that an independent audit of the data had already been commissioned.

In a statement, Surgisphere said the audit “will make our work more transparent (and further emphasize the quality of our work).”

Earlier Tuesday, the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) also used data from Surgisphere, saying there were concerns about the quality of the data behind another study published in May with the same lead author. It was.

Dr. Mandeep Mela, first author and professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, advocated the use of the Surgisphere dataset as an intermediate step in the clinical data availability.

In a statement from the Lancet, Mr. Meller said in a statement, “I am eagerly awaiting a reply from the independent audit. The results will lead to further action.”

The World Health Organization (WHO) suspended the use of hydroxychloroquine in a large study of COVID-19 patients after the lancet study. After the WHO trial was discontinued, the French, Italian, and Belgian governments stopped using hydroxychloroquine in COVID-19 patients.

Some critics of the study that signed the letter last week were from Oxford University in Bangkok and Mahidol Oxford Tropical Medicine Research Unit (MORU), who were conducting a global “COPCOV” trial of hydroxychloroquine as a treatment for COVID. There were several scholars of -19.

The trial was suspended last week after the Lancet article.

In March, with little scientific evidence, Trump said the hydroxychloroquine used in combination with the antibiotic azithromycin “is very likely to be one of the biggest game changers in medical history.” .. He later said he took the drug prophylactically after two people working in the White House were diagnosed with COVID-19.

According to the White House, Trump and Brazilian President Jail Borsonaro discussed a joint study using hydroxychloroquine for both the prevention and treatment of coronaviruses.

(Reporting by Michael Erman, Additional Report by Alistair Smout, Editing by Bill Berkrot, Peter Henderson and Tom Brown)

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