Authored by Jessie Zhang via Thje Epoch Times (emphasis ours),
An Australian and Swedish investigation has found that among the hundreds of COVID-19 research papers that have been withdrawn, a retracted study linking the drug hydroxychloroquine to increased mortality was the most cited paper.
With 1,360 citations at the time of data extraction, researchers in the field were still referring to the paper “Hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine with or without a macrolide for treatment of COVID-19: a multinational registry analysis” long after it was retracted.
Authors of the analysis involving the University of Wollongong, Linköping University, and Western Sydney Local Health District wrote (pdf) that “most researchers who cite retracted research do not identify that the paper is retracted, even when submitting long after the paper has been withdrawn.”
“This has serious implications for the reliability of published research and the academic literature, which need to be addressed,” they said.
“Retraction is the final safeguard against academic error and misconduct, and thus a cornerstone of the entire process of knowledge generation.”
Scientists Question Findings
Over 100 medical professionals wrote an open letter, raising ten major issues with the paper.
These included the fact that there was “no ethics review” and “unusually small reported variances in baseline variables, interventions and outcomes,” as well as “no mention of the countries or hospitals that contributed to the data source and no acknowledgments to their contributions.”
Other concerns were that the average daily doses of hydroxychloroquine were higher than the FDA-recommended amounts, which would present skewed results.
They also found that the data that was reportedly from Australian patients did not seem to match data from the Australian government.
Eventually, the study led the World Health Organization to temporarily suspend the trial of hydroxychloroquine on COVID-19 patients and to the UK regulatory body, MHRA, requesting the temporary pause of recruitment into all hydroxychloroquine trials in the UK.
France also changed its national recommendation of the drug in COVID-19 treatments and halted all trials.
Currently, a total of 337 research papers on COVID-19 have been retracted, according to Retraction Watch.
Further retractions are expected as the investigation of proceeds.