Scientists are looking into the scientific paper that trashed the effectiveness of hydroxychloroquine in treating COVID-19. According to the scientists, the number of coronavirus cases and deaths and the detailed data collection presented in the study seem “unlikely” and call for some scrutiny.

In a letter to The Lancet signed by more than 100 scientists, the scientists questioned the source of the study’s data, the anonymity of the hospitals involved, the countries they are in, and the speed at which the study was conducted, reviewed, and reported.

The scientists also questioned why the study did not include zinc, an essential component of hydroxychloroquine that is believed to be a coronavirus prophylactic. “Data from Africa indicate that nearly 25% of all COVID-19 cases and 40% of all deaths in the continent occurred in Surgisphere-associated hospitals which had sophisticated electronic patient data recording,” wrote the scientists.

According to the scientists, data cited from Australia has “more in-hospital deaths than had occurred in the entire country during the study period.” They also pointed out that the most troubling anomaly of all was the fact that hospitals cited in the study did not even know the existence of the paper.

“The biggest thing that raised a red flag was that there was such a large database across more than 600 hospitals, and not one had really known about its existence,” said Duke Clinical Research Institute’s Dr. Adrian Hernandez, one of the letter’s signatories.

On May 22, The Lancet study was published to suggest that both chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine were ineffective in the treatment of COVID-19. The paper also claimed that the use of both drugs could lead to abnormal heart rhythms and deaths.

It also claimed to have collected “data on tens of thousands of patients hospitalized through April 14,” which suggested that the researchers were able to collect data, review, write, and publish the paper within just five weeks.

Scientists who signed the letter are now calling for an independent review of the study. They include clinicians, researchers, statisticians, and ethicists from Harvard University, University of Pennsylvania, Vanderbilt University and Duke University.

COVID-19 Coronavirus is spreading worldwide and countries are doing their best to flatten the curve. Photo by: Gerd Altmann/Pixabay