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Large Ivermectin Study Retracted

"One of the world's largest ivermectin trials" based on plagiarism, bad data; "either a mind-boggling breach of ethics or a very bad sign of potential fraud"

MEDPAGE TODAY – A large Egyptian study of ivermectin for COVID-19 patients has been retracted over concerns of plagiarism and serious problems with their raw data, the publisher confirmed to MedPage Today.

Michele Avissar-Whiting, PhD, editor-in-chief of the preprint server Research Square, said in an emailed statement that the study was withdrawn on July 14 because:

“we were presented with evidence of both plagiarism and anomalies in the dataset associated with the study, neither of which could reasonably be addressed by the author issuing a revised version of the paper.”

Avissar-Whiting noted that the concerns were first raised by Jack Lawrence, a British medical student, according to The Guardian. She said:

“Based on what Jack found, we have reason to believe the preprint’s conclusions are compromised, so the withdrawal was done to stop its propagation as sound science.”

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“This is the strategy employed by a number of preprint servers, per best practice guidance.”

The study was one of the largest ivermectin trials in the world, and has been included in two recent meta-analyses (Bryant et al. and Hill et al.) that received much attention for their positive results — particularly the Hill review, which had been anticipated by a U.S. group that has long promoted ivermectin.

Some have questioned whether the positive conclusions of those meta-analyses would still stand when the Egyptian study is removed.

David Boulware, MD, MPH, of the University of Minnesota, told MedPage Today that the 400-patient Egyptian trial — from Ahmed Elgazzar, MD, of Benha University, and colleagues — was the largest study included in the Hill review and accounted for 20% of the total data.

Lead author Andrew Hill, PhD, of the University of Liverpool in England, said in an email to MedPage Today that his team will be “re-running our analysis with the Elgazzar trial removed … ” READ MORE.

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Kristina Fiore leads MedPage’s enterprise & investigative reporting team. She’s been a medical journalist for more than a decade and her work has been recognized by Barlett & Steele, AHCJ, SABEW, and others. 

 

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