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Dent in Trust

The retraction last week of two COVID-19 papers may affect the public's trust in science, the Guardian writes.

The Lancet and the New England Journal of Medicine retracted papers last week that examined hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine use and risk of death among COVID-19 patients, and cardiovascular disease and ACE inhibitor use and risk of death, due to concerns regarding the data used in their analyses. The studies relied on data from a database run by Surgisphere, which said it had detailed data on about nearly 100,000 COVID-19 patients forum around the globe. But after questions arose about the data, the company did not provide independent reviewers access to the full dataset, leading some of the papers' authors to say they no longer had confidence in their findings.

This turn of events, the Guardian says, could erode public confidence in science and in the standards of scientific journals. "It is unclear how something that at least looks suspect and at worst was fraudulent got through that process, and that does undermine trust," Australian National University's Peter Collignon tells it. "That's a real problem when you already have people who don't believe in science, and now they will say 'how do we know everything isn't made up?'