On 5 June 2020, The Lancet withdrew an article it had published on May 22 [1], followed an hour later by the New England Journal of Medicine’s retraction of a similar article appeared on 1 May [2].

These two articles [3] [4] had been spotlighted by a high-profile media coverage orchestrated by the US-based Gilead Sciences laboratory. They purported to prove that certain drugs were ineffective for Covid-19, thus clearing the way for their own drugs.

Both articles were based on data collected and processed by Surgisphere, the US healthcare analytics company founded by Doctor Sapan S. Desai, who also happens to be one of the co-authors. He had already caught the public’s attention by promoting Ivermectin to inhibit Covid-19.

In a recent article, The Guardian proved that the Surgisphere data related to Australian hospitals and used in the hydroxychloroquine study was a pure fabrication. Following these revelations, the other authors of the two articles were unable to access the data collected by Surgisphere [5].

The retraction by the two scientific journals still leaves us in the dark as to what actually happened. In fact, many specialists were skeptical of these two studies at the first reading, yet deemed to be "reliable" enough to be published. It remains to be seen whether Doctor Sapan S. Desai is just a con artist who hoodwinked his colleagues, or whether the fakeries were sponsored by Gilead Science. Indeed, those studies are compatible with the interests of the laboratory; they were promoted by its press service, and were both directed by Professor Mandeep Mehra who has concealed working for Gilead Sciences.

[1] “Retraction—Hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine with or without a macrolide for treatment of COVID-19 : a multinational registry analysis”, Mandeep R. Mehra, Frank Ruschitzka, Amit N. Patel, The Lancet, June 5, 2020.

[2] “Retraction : Cardiovascular Disease, Drug Therapy, and Mortality in Covid-19”, New England Journal of Medicine, June 5, 2020.

[3] "Hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine with or without a macrolide for treatment of COVID-19 : a multinational registry analysis”, Mandeep R. Mehra, Sapan S. Desai, Frank Ruschitzka, Amit N. Patel, The Lancet Online, May 22, 2020.

[4] “Cardiovascular Disease, Drug Therapy,and Mortality in Covid-19”, Mandeep R. Mehra, Sapan S. Desai, SreyRam Kuy, Timothy D. Henry, Amit N. Patel, New England Journal of Medicine, May 1, 2020.

[5] “Questions raised over hydroxychloroquine study which caused WHO to halt trials for Covid-19”, Melissa Davey, The Guardian, May 28, 2020.