Whether or not there is excessive danger in taking hydroxychloroquine is now being questioned, after inconsistencies have emerged in the largest worldwide study on the drug.
The small American company Surgisphere, owned by the study’s co-author
Sapan Desai, created the database used for the research. The data was purported to be compiled from hospitals and related medical facilities across the world, in the manner of the popular Worldometer site. After the study mechanics had been peer reviewed and the hydroxychloroquine analysis published, discrepancies were noticed between reported numbers of deaths by date in Australia, leading to questions about the validity of the data in other locations.
An article in the magazine Science summed up the issue:
“(The data set) has come under withering online scrutiny from researchers and amateur sleuths. They have pointed out many red flags in the Lancet paper, including the astonishing number of patients involved and details about their demographics and prescribed dosing that seem implausible. “
The UK Guardian has produced an investigative piece which casts further shade on the company, pointing out that it currently staffs only three people, down from a recent high of six – one of which is a science fiction & fantasy artist and another a professional adult “hostess”. Further, Desai himself has been named in three medical malpractice suits and attempted to crowdfund a “potential maximizer”.
None of these are absolute proof of fraud. A superlative programming group may allow a very streamlined operation, and people can have multiple interests and professions, and spurious malpractice suits do get leveled… but it raises doubts. It raises so many doubts, in fact, that the World Health Organization has lifted its recommended restrictions and worldwide tests have resumed on the drug.
The apparent likelihood of fraud on this data set is independent of many smaller studies, including a French trial and the American VA tests, which have demonstrated results showing that the drug, relatively safe in smaller quantities, can trigger fatal reactions when administered in dosages high enough to potentially affect covid-19.
Surgisphere had announced a rapid diagnostic tool for covid-19 in March as detailed in online medical equipment magazine MPO, and stood to profit immensely by association with a prominent worldwide study.
This news will likely trigger new waves of assurance that hydroxychloroquine is a valid general treatment for covid-19. The failure of any of the unaffiliated studies to support that hypothesis is unlikely to be addressed, because this is a topic where the hard science often gives way to the political aspects, independent of the thousands of weekly deaths throughout the country and the world.