Skip to main content
Premium Trial:

Request an Annual Quote

Journals Raise Concerns Over Data Source

The Lancet and the New England Journal of Medicine have issued expressions of concern for papers examining the use of antimalarial drugs in treating COVID-19 and whether blood pressure drugs exacerbate the disease, the New York Times reports

The journal articles, it notes, had had immediate influence upon publication. The Lancet paper reported that the antimalarial drugs hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine may have increased the risk of death among COVID-19 patients, which led clinical trials investigating them to halt. The NEJM paper, meanwhile, reported that cardiovascular disease increased someone's risk of dying from COVID-19, but found ACE inhibitors did not increase that risk.

But both journals have now raised issues regarding the data used in the studies, which came from a database run by Surgisphere. As the Times notes, Surgisphere says its database includes detailed data on about 100,000 COVID-19 patients from 1,200 hospitals, though many healthcare experts say they had not heard of the database until recently. The Guardian additionally has reported discrepancies between data in the Surgisphere database and that from other sources like Johns Hopkins University. In its expression of concern, the Lancet notes that the authors on the paper not associated with Surgisphere have initiated an audit of the data.

"Surgisphere stands behind the integrity of our studies and our scientific researchers, clinical partners, and data analysts," Surgisphere chief executive, Sapan Desai, who was a co-author of the studies, tells the Times in a statement.

The Scan

Positive Framing of Genetic Studies Can Spark Mistrust Among Underrepresented Groups

Researchers in Human Genetics and Genomics Advances report that how researchers describe genomic studies may alienate potential participants.

Small Study of Gene Editing to Treat Sickle Cell Disease

In a Novartis-sponsored study in the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers found that a CRISPR-Cas9-based treatment targeting promoters of genes encoding fetal hemoglobin could reduce disease symptoms.

Gut Microbiome Changes Appear in Infants Before They Develop Eczema, Study Finds

Researchers report in mSystems that infants experienced an enrichment in Clostridium sensu stricto 1 and Finegoldia and a depletion of Bacteroides before developing eczema.

Acute Myeloid Leukemia Treatment Specificity Enhanced With Stem Cell Editing

A study in Nature suggests epitope editing in donor stem cells prior to bone marrow transplants can stave off toxicity when targeting acute myeloid leukemia with immunotherapy.