COVID-19: Too many lives at stake, no room for misleading data.

The Lancet retracted a highly cited study that suggested hydroxychloroquine may cause more harm than benefit in patients with COVID-19 and hours following that, the New England Journal of Medicine retracted a second article by some of the same authors, also on heart disease. The issue relating to the unreliability of data on which recent recommendations were made about the dangers of the use of hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine phosphate in the this pandemic could not have come at the worst time. Surgisphere Corporation and its founder and co-author, Sapan Desai, citing client rights, confidentiality agreements, could not transfer for peer review the full dataset, client contracts, and the full ISO audit report for analysis, the report says. 

In its statement The Lancet went quite far in stating : "The Lancet takes issues of scientific integrity extremely seriously, and there are many outstanding questions about Surgisphere and the data that were allegedly included in this study. Following guidelines from the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) and International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE), institutional reviews of Surgisphere's research collaborations are urgently needed."

The world including the WHO, countries, governments , providers and frontline workers everywhere who follow these studies make far reaching decisions regarding the treatment of COVID-19 infections and can hardly afford this confusion. For example, the WHO temporarily halted enrollments into one of the arms of its hydroxychloroquine based studies based on the Surgisphere reported conclusions, an apparently faulty or at the least unsubstantiated research findings that should lend itself to peer review. While the WHO has since resumed its research, it is not lost on anyone that lives depend on a well vetted medical information, and the scientific community in 2020 owes mankind that at the least. The consequences of erroneous recommendations are far reaching and lives hang on the balance as a result.