The authors of a study comparing hydroxychloroquine and the antiviral agent favipiravir as treatments for COVID-19 have lost the paper after post-publication peer review determined that the data did not support the conclusions.
According to the retraction notice:
After concerns were brought to the Editors’ attention after publication, the raw data underlying the study were requested. The authors provided several versions of their dataset. Post-publication peer review confirmed that none of these versions fully recapitulates the results presented in the cohort background comparisons, casting doubt on the reliability of the data. Additional concerns were raised about the randomisation procedure, as the equal distribution of male and female patients is unlikely unless sex is a parameter considered during randomisation. However, based on the clarification provided by the authors, sex was not considered during this process. The Editors therefore no longer have confidence in the results and conclusions presented.
A spokesperson for the publisher told us:
After publication of the paper, concerns were raised by a reader, which prompted us to request the raw data underlying the study. Our subsequent investigation, which included post-publication peer review, identified concerns in relation to the underlying data and randomization and the editors decided that the most appropriate course of action was to retract. Concerns regarding the other paper you mentioned are currently under investigation by the Scientific Reports editorial team.