US firm in middle of row over global HCQ study hired sci-fi writer, model: Report
The Guardian has reported that a tiny US firm that claimed to have analysed data from hospitals around the world only had a handful of employees appear to include a science fiction writer and an adult-content model”..Updated: Jun 04, 2020 01:46 IST
The US firm at the centre of a controversy over the study on the effect of hydroxychloroquine on Covid-19 patients only has a handful of employees who have little or no scientific training, according to an investigation by the British newspaper The Guardian.
The newspaper said its investigation into the ‘tiny’ US firm Surgisphere had revealed that the company’s “handful of employees appear to include a science fiction writer and an adult-content model”.
The Chicago-based company owns the “questionable” database that has been used in studies published in The Lancet and also New England Journal of Medicine, the world’s two most highly-cited medical journals.
The study linked use of hydroxychloroquine for Covid-19 patients to increased heart risks, prompting the World Health Organisation to stop its use in a global trial called Solidarity.
Surgisphere chief executive Sapan Desai has rebutted allegations about flaws in the data that his company had processed from 90,000 patients in 671 hospitals across the world.
“There continues to be a fundamental misunderstanding about what our system is and how it works,” Desai told the newspaper, underlining that The Guardian had made “unrelated connections” and incorporated inaccuracies with a clear bias towards attempting to discredit the firm and its work.
WHO resumed use of HCQ after The Lancet, which published a study based on data provided by Surgisphere, declared that it was reviewing the data and methods of the study which had come in for criticism by a large number of experts.
“We are issuing an Expression of Concern to alert readers to the fact that serious scientific questions have been brought to our attention. We will update this notice as soon as we have further information,” said a statement issued by The Lancet on Wednesday.