Surgisphere Corporation, an IL based company which owns the dataset behind the study published in The Lancet as well as a study in the New England Journal of Medicine, has been subject to scrutiny in recent days as clinicians and researchers challenge the likelihood of assembling the amount of data supplied by the firm in such a short period of time.
Earlier on Tuesday, the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) said it was concerned about the quality of the data behind a different study it published in May that also used data from Surgisphere and had the same lead author.
India, however, continued to use the drug for prophylaxis among health and other frontline workers and family members of Covid positive patients.
Last month, The Lancet published a study that showed the anti-malaria treatment hydroxychloroquine, which has been widely touted by President Trump as a potential treatment for Covid-19, was linked with an increased risk of death among Covid-19 patients. In addition, the scientists and physicians raised concerns that the study's authors may have inadequately adjusted their analysis for certain variables, such as side effects associated with drugs and the doses of the drugs given to patients. Moreover, despite claiming to run one of the largest and fastest hospital databases in the world, Surgisphere has nearly no online presence, and until Monday, its website's "get in touch" link redirected to a WordPress template for a cryptocurrency website, raising obvious questions about how hospitals can contact the company to join its database.
Although it wasn't a rigorous experiment that could give definitive answers, the Lancet study had wide influence because of its size.
The drug has been mired in controversy since President Donald Trump repeatedly promoted it and even took it himself without clear evidence that it's safe or effective for preventing or treating coronavirus infection.
The data set was supplied by US-based healthcare data analytics company Surgisphere Corporation and its founder, Dr Sapan Desai, was one of the paper's four co-authors.
A hospital statement says the authors launched an independent audit of the data in the New England Journal paper on Monday.
The Lancet published a statement of concern on the matter. The correction did not change the overall results or conclusions. According to the statement, the Mehra paper "used data drawn from an global database that included electronic health records from 169 hospitals on three continents", they wrote.
The Lancet and the authors need to do more to address the many concerns that scientists have raised, said Dr. Eric Topol, a research methods expert and director of the Scripps Research Translational Institute in San Diego. "Benefit may be there", ICMR had said. The AP is exclusively responsible for all content.