07/13/20   |   By

The Lancet’s Retracted COVID-19 Study And What It Says About Treating a New Disease: Part I

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As the research surrounding COVID-19 reveals new findings, even the most trusted scientific authorities are forced to occasionally walk back previous statements. Such was the case for the trusted publication The Lancet, which previously published a noteworthy study suggesting that drugs such as hydroxychloroquine could pose a significant threat to COVID patients. Keep reading to learn more about The Lancet‘s retracted study — and its implications for future treatments.

The Hydroxychloroquine Drama

Hydroxychloroquine attracted attention for several months after President Donald Trump touted the drug as an effective treatment for coronavirus. Medical experts quickly dismissed this assertion, stating that it would be impossible to verify the drug’s efficacy this early on.

In late May, esteemed medical journal The Lancet seemed to shed light on the hydroxychloroquine debate with a paper that deemed the drug ineffective — and even dangerous — as a treatment option. On June 4th, this paper was retracted at the request of three researchers who worked on the study, citing a lack of available access to the raw data. The researchers also referenced their inability to obtain auditing by a third party.

What’s Next?

The Lancet‘s retraction will no doubt add even more fuel to the debate about the safety and efficacy of hydroxychloroquine. Further research may be required to determine whether the drug holds any promise for patients in desperate need of relief. Given this reality, the FDA has revoked authorization, as the drug is no longer deemed capable of meeting the statutory criteria needed for emergency use.


Regan Zambri Long
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Public Health
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