Coronavirus

Does That Malaria Medicine Work on COVID-19 After All?

A major study in The Lancet said it doesn't—but it may have relied on fabricated data.

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On May 22, the medical journal The Lancet published a study that aimed to figure out how effective chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine, anti-malarial drugs, are in combination with certain anti-bacterial drugs for treating hospitalized COVID-19 patients. The researchers concluded that "each of these drug regimens was associated with decreased in-hospital survival." In other words, patients treated with the drugs were more likely to die than those who were not. That study was based on data supplied by the medical data aggregation company Surgisphere which claims to have assembled a database of tens of thousands of COVID-19 patient records from hundreds of hospitals across the globe.

Almost immediately other researchers began questioning the accuracy of the Surgisphere database and therefore the accuracy of the study's finding that the anti-malarials are ineffective—or worse, dangerous—at treating hospitalized COVID-19 patients. For example, an open letter signed by scores of outside researchers points out that Surgisphere has not released the code or data used in The Lancet study although the journal is a signatory to the Wellcome open research data guidelines. The outside researchers note further possible problems with Surgisphere's reported data for COVID-19 patients: The data were not properly adjusted for confounders such as disease severity and doses used to treat patients. Researchers also suggest that Surgisphere is reporting data from implausibly high numbers of COVID-19 patients in Australia and parts of Africa.

The researchers are particularly concerned because several randomized placebo-controlled clinical trials of the drugs that could more clearly show the benefits or dangers of such treatments have been derailed in the wake of The Lancet study.

As a result of this storm of criticism, the editors at The Lancet have issued "an Expression of Concern to alert readers to the fact that serious scientific questions have been brought to our attention" about the article. The editors further note that "an independent audit of the provenance and validity of the data has been commissioned by the authors not affiliated with Surgisphere and is ongoing, with results expected very shortly." The journal has also posted a minor correction to the article with respect to misclassifying Australian data, adding a supplemental table.

Surgisphere has now attracted the attention of data sleuths who are turning up oddities about the company including that its purportedly vast database does not appear to have been used in prior peer-reviewed studies and that it has a suspiciously low number of employees for a company that claims to have relationships with hundreds of hospitals.

For its part, Surgisphere maintains that its database is scientifically sound. "Mandatory audits happen at least four times a year, and everything from data acquisition to data reporting is independently reviewed by an external third-party auditor," claims the company in an online statement. "Surgisphere has passed all of its prior audits with no major or minor nonconformities."

In response to its critics, Surgisphere says that it is pursuing an independent academic audit of where its data come from, the database, and its statistical analysis "with all due haste."

Given the severity of the coronavirus pandemic, the results of a truly thorough and transparent audit cannot come fast enough. The possibility that clinicians have been misled by shoddy research into avoiding the use of an effective drug to treat COVID-19 patients borders on scandalous.

UPDATE: Three of the study's authors retracted it from The Lancet on June 4 because they were unable to complete an independent audit of the data underpinning their analysis and therefore "can no longer vouch for the veracity of the primary data sources." Read more about it here.

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  1. Nope, peer reviewed. That makes it good and perfect and to be submitted to and obeyed without question. Peer Review. Scientists are accountable to each other, to themselves, not to us peons.

    1. Trump touted it, ergo it has to be ineffective and lethal.

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      2. I really think that it was an automatic reaction to Trump mentioning that the drug may have some value. Trying to make themselves look good by making him look bad. Easy target.

    2. “Almost immediately other researchers began questioning the accuracy of the Surgisphere database and therefore the accuracy of the study’s finding that the anti-malarials are ineffective—or worse, dangerous—at treating hospitalized COVID-19 patients. ”

      But other researchers questioned it… just not libertarian science writers.

      1. Without so much as doing one iota of research I can confidently say that said skeptical scientists were undoubtedly paid by hydroxychloroquine manufacturers.

        1. Actually, the Lancet study authors are connected to Big Pharma, while HCQ is no longer patent protected, and cheap. Big Pharma would rather sell an expensive medication for Covid. There really is little money in HCQ which costs about 25 cents a pill. https://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2020/06/exclusive-lancet-study-hydroxychloroquine-complete-fraud-authors-linked-pharmaceutical-industry-people-died-lies/

  2. Backpedaling should be an Olympic sport. We would have a true national hero in Ronald Bailey.

    1. Isn’t this the same study Bailey endorsed like last week ?

      Almost immediately other researchers began questioning the accuracy of the Surgisphere database and therefore the accuracy of the study’s finding

      lol well not L Ron Bailey.

      1. Sure including some in the comments, but at least he’s publishing this. That makes him more honest than the vast majority of the media… which is such a low bar it doesn’t really qualify as a compliment.

      2. No wonder Ronnie stopped wading into comments.

    2. To be honest I’m a big fan of backpedaling over memory-holing.

      Most journalists would just ignore or even try to smother the fact that the data was fabricated or even that the Lancet study was challenged.

      1. Absolutely better to admit mistakes than cover them up. The whiners would whine either way; nothing Bailey does ever pleases them. Makes you wonder why they haven’t admitted any mistakes when they know so much. Why hoard all their knowledge?

        1. Can you point to where Bailey has admitted to making a mistake ?

        2. I’m pretty sure many of the commentators made very specific critiques of this study when Ron originally reported on it, if I’m thinking of the right article.

          1. Original article + my critique followed by KevinP’s even better ones.

            1. Meanwhile, he still hasn’t covered it. Huh.

      2. I’m a fan of backpedaling as well, provided lessons are learned. On the other hand, if Bailey was a real journalist, concerned with the accuracy of what he publishes, perhaps prudence could have guided him in the direction of waiting a few days to get both sides of the story, rather than jumping the gun because he so desperately needed to shit on hydroxychloroquine to prove that Trump is an asshole.

        The problem with backpedaling, moreover, is that the original story always circulates far more broadly than any subsequent correction or retraction.

        1. Bailey assumed the journals did their job. I cannot blame him for that.

          But what is the Lancet’s excuse? They LAUNCHED the anti-vaxxer campaign in their journal. You’d think after that massive fiasco that they’d make damned sure to never do it again.

          But here we are.

          People wonder why people ignore experts. This is why.

          1. //Bailey assumed the journals did their job. I cannot blame him for that.//

            Is that what journalists do? Assume everything that lands on their lap is correct? What happened to fact checking? Verification? Speaking to the sources? Hunting down leads that may have a different perspective?

            If Bailey is just a glorified copy and paster, he should just admit it, and save everyone the trouble of having to constantly call him out on his shit.

            And then Bailey admits:

            //Almost immediately other researchers began questioning the accuracy of the Surgisphere database and therefore the accuracy of the study’s finding that the anti-malarials are ineffective—or worse, dangerous—at treating hospitalized COVID-19 patients.//

            So, what’s his excuse? He couldn’t wait a few days to confirm the veracity of the study, especially since there were questions raised about it immediately?

            I mean, come on. I blame people like Bailey as much as the experts. The journalists are supposed to be independent reporters of facts, not regurgitators of everything they hear.

            1. Most science journalist have very little actual science education. They are reporting on a subject they don’t understand, therefore they don’t understand what questions should even be asked.

              1. For example Bailey’s degree is a BA in philosophy and economics. This is a bit better than journalism, as philosophy and science have a common root, but they have diverged tremendously.

            2. Where do you draw the line? How many basic assumptions to you expect Bailey to investigate? At some point, you have to assume correctness instead of fraud. That is one of the purposes of replication studies, to find where that bar should be set. The Lancet is a reasonably well-known journal who bears primary responsibility for this fuckup. Bailey at least published this update. How many journals don’t even do that? There are well-known cases of fraud being exposed yet the articles take years to be withdrawn.

              1. It would have been good if he had asked some basic questions in the original article, maybe pointed out Lancets very spotty record on publishing big splash stories that end up having to be retracted.

          2. The science journal crisis has been well known for at least a decade. The push to publish is stronger than the push to get things right. Throw in the politics of these journalists and you get a right mess.

    3. I think we should applaud. If facts change, people should be willing to change their conclusions. Not doing so is foolish.

      Now, everyone should not have pushed this study to begin with if there were this many red flags. However, the past cannot be changed.

    4. Perhaps someone who gets *paid* to be a journalist will do some journalism on the *pattern* of fraudulent HCQ studies, reports, and pronouncements pooh poohing HCQ.

    5. Yep, Ronald slipped up on this one, and he could have read the study. First of all, it wasn’t a double blind human trial, so on that basis should have been rejected as not proving anything (at least that’s the stand the FDA normally takes – I disagree but that’s another subject). Instead it was an after the fact study, and at least Bailey now realizes the adjustments for the confounding variables is an issue. Another issue is the sample sizes weren’t big enough to be statistically significant. Also, the study even says the sicker patients were the ones that got HCQ.

      Somehow I think TDS spread like Covid among the Reason staff and it affected Bailey’s thinking. Get well soon all of you. You might find some libertarian actions by Trump to tout.

  3. this is amazing level of fraud happening in the medical community and big pharmaceutical. The only real question I have was whether 25% of this whole thing is driven by big pharma profits. I guess we’ll never know.

    1. between this and the Imperial college scam, I mean wtf is going on here?

      1. Davos crowd coup against Western democracies?

        1. totes this.

        2. Three years ago I thought such talk was silly. I was wrong.

          1. Yeah. Along with, “the US Intelligence community would never pick sides in a Presidential Election. Sure, a rogue one or two employees might do something stupid, but there has to be safeguards against turning the whole surveillance apparatus against a guy, just because they don’t like him?”

            Trump at the mike: Wrong! /Trump at the mike

      2. Look at the incentives. Real, careful research takes time. But the press and public want answers now. Researchers depend on grants, which require turning over research as quickly as possible. If you aren’t publishing, you are dead.

        Medical journals are filled with thousands of studies that will never be tested because there is no money or prestige (which brings money) in it.

        1. Don’t forget the government incentives. One, the regulatory process is so slow and befuddled that it discourages following the process and encourages shortcuts. Two, governments are paying too much because the politicians want to impress voters. Witness the idiots paying fortunes for face masks from companies which didn’t exist the week before, or stealing equipment from some hospitals to give to others, or forcing nursing homes to take coronavirus patients.

          It’s government, as usual.

    2. I tend to think paid off by the #CCPBiologicalWarfare slush fund.

  4. The more we learn about the level of fraud and bullshit being peddled by credentialed expert class the more and more I think we’d be better off being lead by chimps.

    1. This. There had jolly well better be one fuck-ton of resignations when the dust settles.

      1. There won’t. It’s incredible there’s no accountability here for any of it. They’ve nuked the economy over this fraud and are standing to make tens of billions on a vaccine that in all likelyhood might not even be needed with in all probability inadequate testing.

        1. Just look at Fauci. He completely screwed the pooch on AIDS, yet he’s now viewed, particularly by those on the left since he whispers sweet nothings into their ears, as a completely infallible Oracle of Communicable Disease.

      2. I’m sure many resignations regulations will come of all this.

      3. They won’t be because they are politicians first, scientists second. Thus they believe that their well meaning intentions are what’s important, regardless of results.

    2. Republican chimps, or Democratic chimps?
      Or would both be riot worthy racist?
      Or did you mean chumps? Oh, wait, we are already there.

      1. I mean chimp chimps.

      2. Republican chimps,
        Hahaha, yeah… they sure are.

        or Democratic chimps?
        That’s racist.

    3. Given the quality of candidates that the two major political parties keep putting up for us to choose between, I’d say that we are being led by chimps.

      1. I’d prefer the ones that don’t speak english.

        1. And throw their own shit, as opposed to the ones we have now that just steal our shit.

    4. I’d vote for a chimp over anyone who believes himself or herself to be qualified to be president.

  5. A major study in The Lancet said it doesn’t—but it may have relied on fabricated data.

    Oh, FFS! Why didn’t the “researchers” just use the IHME model? 8-(

  6. FFS.

    Maybe we’ll have a double-blind etc study with reliable results one way or the other published and peer reviewed sometime in 2025 or whenever, long after it no really matters because vaccines and past infections have largely broken the transmission chain.

    1. My God, you deserve to be fucked in the ear with an icepick. Not that it could possibly damage your tiny, tiny brain.

      Progs only support Science! to the extent that they can weaponize it for their own agenda. Other than that, it’s 100% faith and fanaticism.

  7. Most scientists ‘can’t replicate studies by their peers’
    https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-39054778

    1. Science’s ‘Replication Crisis’ Has Reached Even The Most Respectable Journals, Report Shows
      https://www.sciencealert.com/replication-results-reproducibility-crisis-science-nature-journals

      1. Since the sixties the establishment has viewed it as a feature, not a bug.

      2. Journals could fix this in 2 second flat. If you’re a respectable high class journal. Refuse to publish anything that isn’t a replication study. Let the less reputable journals publish the first iteration stuff, while you reap the sweet sweet cred of not having to do retractions.

        1. Just print the reviewers names on a by line below the authors’ names. Make it a researchable reference the same as authors’ name. Once they are held responsible for the research, the same as the authors, they will step up their efforts. Most good scientist dread being associated with a retracted study.

        2. Another thing that would help is for the high class journals to stop refusing to publish negative results.

          1. Yes. Negative results are important but to often no one published them.

            1. Until recently, no one ever published them. Then someone got the bright idea to start a journal for negative results. It would still be better if the mainstream field specific journals published studies in their fields with negative results.

              JOURNAL OF NEGATIVE RESULTS

              1. Interesting, I hadn’t heard of that journal.

  8. I don’t know why it’s hard for the science community to just come out and admit the truth. Responsible, accurate science takes a long, long time. Going back and forth every other day about what is and isn’t a fact, what works and what doesn’t because a new study contradicts the last one starts to strain credibility with the public. Science is incredibly important to modern societies, but it’s limitations and shortcomings need to be properly understood and acknowledged. Making it seem like these people have no clue what they’re actually talking about is counter productive. It may actually be more of a media and political problem, since they tend to be the ones who are more prepared to make outrageous truth claims and declare something as knowledge or “settled science” when most matters are decades from such claims being made responsibly. In many cases such claims can never be made responsibly. I think the best lesson we can learn when we look back at COVID is that hubris isn’t serving us very well.

    1. It’s too late they’ve been corrupted and co-opted(who knows maybe they’ve always been). There’s no science just grifters, conartists, political appointments, political driven grants, run of the mil corruption and vesting stock options. Global warming was the canary in the coal mine apparently you can take the michael mann model and apply it to close to every single field of study right now. The universities have been completely and utterly co-opted by politics first drivel. In this case they literally invented a shell company to come to some bullshit conclusion with falsifiable data so they could run a hit on the president in the media while simultaneously continue to prop up stock buys on other more expensive treatment options. This whole thing was a con. If someone can draw any connection to Fauci to this organization at all I think it’s time for public trials and reinstating public executions.

      1. I’ve listened to a whole lot of podcasts of current academics that have nothing nice to say about the liberal arts or social sciences, but they usually say that the hard sciences, which are the only ones that matter, are not nearly as bad and are often salvageable. Jonathan Haidt is someone that I like broadly speaking that discusses this a lot. I’m completely nihilistic about politics and it’s ability to be salvaged, but I can’t bring myself to get that cynical about the hard sciences. I do think that they need new incentives and that finding different ways to fund them will be crucial, but I have no prescriptions for that personally.

        1. There is nothing scientific about the social sciences. Hell, many so called social scientist even openly reject the scientific method and basic scientific principles. They also are terrible about P-mining, confirmation bias, biased sampling etc. They also are attempting to model a system with way to many variables and randomness.

          1. I’ve had this same argument with several psychology degree holding friends I have over the years. They get very upset when you try to explain this to them. Very upset.

            1. Psychology is one of the worst. How many Freudians continue to exist despite Freud almost being completely repudiated. Talk about confirmation bias, Freud was the poster child. He projected his own problems onto everyone else.

              1. I know right? Somehow Freud and Marx still get to be allowed to cause rot after more than a century of devastation. The problem of people believing things just because they like the sound of it is one that we will likely never solve.

                1. It is because most people have only a passing resemblance with science. The science taught at primary level in the US is completely atrocious. We teach stupidity such as endothermic and exothermic (hot and cold blooded) are distinct categories (reality is it is a gradient/spectrum, with cold blooded animals producing some warmth from metabolism and hot blooded animals who do use the environment to some degree to maintain body temperature). We teach evolution in a stupid manner, as if it was a single, straight line process. We teach chemicals are something unique, not ubiquitous. We teach that herbivore, omnivore and carnivore are also distinct categories (but again they are a spectrum). When we teach psychology, we briefly discuss some of the big names, and Freud is taught but not the criticism and repudiation of his research. So called science TV, rather fiction or nonfiction, also tend to make all these mistakes. Watch shows like Bones etc, it is amazing all the basic science mistakes they make. It is as bad as military shows and medical shows. Also, Hollywood tends to ignore their science consultants if it doesn’t further their narrative.

                2. We also teach that extinction is always a bad thing. We don’t mention that extinction is often very natural, and that specialist often go extinct over time, whole generalist survive and thrive. Humans are the ultimate generalist. We can survive in just about every environment on Earth with just some minor adaptations. Ecosystems are never static, but always kinetic, this puts specialist species at a severe disadvantage. If you look at the Endangered species list, the vast majority are specialist. Very few generalist on the list.

                  1. It’s not just science that we teach incredibly poorly. Our entire curriculum (really the way we’re educated in schools, but that’s another matter) needs to be rethought. It’s absurd to me that we teach literature all 4 years of high school, but no body knows any the basics of things like epistemology, actual applied civics or economics that could help us function as useful, thoughtful human beings. I don’t want to sound like a complete conspiracy theorist, but sometimes I think that’s exactly the point.

                    1. It does make you wonder at times…

            2. In my experience, psych majors are among the dumbest in the academy, often even worse than sociology majors.

              1. But no one beats education majors for lack of intelligence and critical thinking. There a number of good education majors but far more bad ones.

                1. My experience with them has always been that they are the single most over confident and entitled group of people I have ever met. Their expertise on any subject rarely extends beyond the propaganda laden text books they’re forced to teach out of year in and year out. They also constantly make the contradicting claims that they are happy to be doing what they love by teaching AND that they are making a giant sacrifice for the good of everyone. They really believe that teaching disinterested kids just enough to pass a standardized test that completely ignores any critical thinking should earn them a place on the highest pedestals of society. You’re a baby-sitter, get over yourself. There are much bigger and more noble sacrifices that people make all the time.

                  1. Yeah, my sister in law is a grade school teacher. She worked at two different public schools, one upper class urban and another rural, reservation. She hated both, she now teaches at a private Catholic school and loves it. She says she actually gets to teach there.

                    1. She almost left teaching because of the public school system. She makes less at her current job but feels far more effective. She also doesn’t have a high opinion of many of her fellow education majors.

                    2. I can’t imagine how frustrating it would be to be caught in the public school bureaucracy if you’re one of the good ones. I find it hard to conjure up too much sympathy. The unions that they love sooo much have far to big a say in keeping things that way. I once got into an argument about that with a former teacher friend (she won’t talk to me because of politics). She thought the education system could be completely solved if they just let teachers run everything without any oversight or outside design input. I asked her if she thought Apple would be a better company if the programmers designed everything instead of Jobs and Ives. She did not care for that question one bit.

                  2. This is another great example of licensing fraud. I currently work as an associate professor in extension education. I have a M.S. in animal science and an associate degree in nursing (I was also a training NCO in the Army, Driver instructor and combat life saver instructor), but to reach science I would have to go back to school to “learn” how to “teach” to get my teaching certificate. It doesn’t matter that I’ve taught most of my life or that I have far more science knowledge than most any science teacher.

          2. The hard sciences have way too many problems with that too.

            I’ve seem so many people who confuse models for data. Models with enough variables to fit a whole herd of elephants.

            1. Really depends on which science it is and practical versus theoretical.

              1. It seems like models as a predictor for real world applications are not something that should be relied upon. Once you reach a certain number of variables (not very many), there’s not really any way it will be reliably accurate. I think it’s wiser to reject models for anything related to public policy since we’ve recently seen the abuse of them by powerful people claiming to wield them as truth. I’m tempted to say the thing about economic models since that’s something I know quite a bit more about.

                1. It depends on what can of model. Often in science we refer to our testing as modeling, especially how we analyze the data. Statistics is modeling. But you are correct about the number of variables. And basing policy on a single model, especially a projective model is fraught with danger. Trying to use a model to predict future outcomes is barely better than reading tea leaves, unless we know the system fairly well, and have a very defined data set.
                  Modeling based on experimentation, and only used to predict a certain set of circumstances is more reliable, e.g. figuring out the mean pH of treatment and untreated rumen pH after feeding a certain feed ingredient. If enough power is built into the model, i.e. enough measurements, and strict control of variables, the model can give us a good approximation of the true mean pH of the two groups.

                  1. That’s my larger point, if you need a refined data set. If you have that, great! When does that ever happen before we go and make enormous policy decisions that affect millions and cost billions?

                    I have no issues with modeling based on experimentation. That’s what I see as the real power and usefulness of science. As long as its based on the assumptions about what science is trying to achieve base on our earlier conversation.

                    1. Yeah. One of my worries about this pandemic is that people don’t differentiate between different types of modeling.

        2. Gut the universities completely and start over. If this is where we are in public health and epidemiology which are core functions of gov alleged role in society this is an indictment on the whole system and it needs a total restart.

          1. There is a lot of good science being done at universities, especially the land grant universities. But they don’t make the headlines. Advances in agriculture, engineering, microbiology etc. They often are mundane but practical. They aren’t groundbreaking but they help advance society. Unfortunately, many larger land grant universities and private universities have opted for the spectacular findings and press releases are often written by non-scientist who work in the University PR departments. Add in the publish or perish mindset most universities have today, and we get a lot of bad science or findings misrepresented/blown out of proportion.

            1. You could argue that the fact that what doesn’t make headlines is a blessing considering the average intelligence and incentives of most “science reporters.” I agree that a lot of it is helpful to society in ways that make take years or even generations to see. I suspect that there is also a great deal of profoundly wasteful and corrupt hard science as well. Do you have any thoughts on what could be done to improve the distinction and the quality on average?

              I’m as keen as anyone on making comments like “gut the universities and start over.” That’s not the reality we live in and I’d like to see ways to improve upon the basis we have. I’d like to think we’re still considered the top science country in the world at the university level.

              1. See my suggestions on how to improve peer review, end publish or perish, encourage publication of negative results focus more grad research on repetition research, more focus on literature research methodology and scientific editing at both undergrad and graduate levels. More public-private joint research (people demonize this style but it often results in good, practical research and is a good source of research funding outside the government grant system).

                1. It also seems like on paper, public-private joint research would reduce fraud (private may have more meaningful oversight) and expedite applications of findings making it to the marketplace.

                  1. Critics maintain private funding gives incentive to “find the correct results” but in my experience private industry actually is much more accepting of negative results.

                    1. Note advocacy funding sources are not open to negative findings. So it still depends on the aim of the private funding group.

              2. Put an end to PR departments at the University, or at least make sure that the actual scientist have final say on the wording not some journalist major who believes hot blooded and cold blooded are distinct categories and that is the end of their scientific “knowledge”. Or and believe chemicals=bad and can be avoided.

      2. If someone can draw any connection to Fauci to this organization at all I think it’s time for public trials and reinstating public executions.

        That guy just won’t shut up about this shit lasting forever even when Italy is now saying COVID has virtually disappeared. I said 3 weeks ago he should have his head cut off, and he just keeps reinforcing the need to bring out the guillotine.

        1. Hey Fauci, how’d your AIDS predictions work out?

    2. I think part of the problem is that secularists wanted to turn science into an alternative to religion by making it into an alternative religion.
      But science isn’t and never was a set of beliefs, it’s a methodology, a process for investigation. The results of studies are the product of practicing science, but they’re not science themselves. They can be wrong or right depending on how the science was applied.
      That’s why when I hear idiots say “I believe in science”, as if it were some kind of doctrine, I cringe.

      I think this kind of religious status attached to science has been very damaging.

      1. This. It is scientism not science. The worship of science, without actually understanding science. The IFL crowd. People generally without science degrees who think they understand science because they “believe” in science.

      2. I think that ultimately they want the state to be the religion and “science” would be their bible. I certainly hope the scientists themselves understand it’s limitations and the idea that at it’s base it’s a methodology and that it’s not really there to prove truth. It’s about hypothesis and our best, limited understanding. I don’t really know any scientists, so I can’t confirm this either way. I am of the belief that the problem lies more in the papacy of the corporate media and politicians who depend on seeming authoritative even with they’re clueless. It sucks that a tool as useful as science has to suffer blows to it’s integrity in the name of getting clicks and votes.

        1. Most I know and work with understand this completely. We have as much contempt for the IFL/scientism community, if not more, than the layman critic of this movement.

          1. That’s the best news I’ve heard all day.

            1. I know a number of scientist who feel Neil de Grasse-Tyson has sold out and let the fame go to his head. The same can be said about Temple-Grandin, although she has admitted she made the mistake of speaking on subjects she didn’t understand.

            2. And don’t even get me started on Bill Nye the non science guy.

                1. Yeah he jumped the shark on that one. Oh and his anti-GMO nonsense but he did admit he was wrong on that.

                  1. Watch his Netflix show. Some of the best unintentional comedy you will ever see. Just make sure you don’t watch too much in one sitting and don’t watch on a full stomach. You will vomit.

                    1. I cancelled Netflix. I rarely ever watched it. But if it is the same as any of the other “documentaries” they or Hulu or Prime offer, I can well imagine the quality.

                    2. I don’t know what you mean. I plan on watching the Hilary documentary that she produced herself. I can’t imagine that it’s anything less than an honest, well rounded, warts and all look at her legacy.

    3. It is a bit simplistic but Hollywood and the media have a lot of blame. They treat scientist as working in a lab having a sudden eureka moment that saves the world just before the credits role. This isn’t how science works. For every Flemming, who discovered penicillin through a fluke (though even that story is more myth than fact) you have a Salk who spent nearly a decade working on his polio, and the Salks outnumber the Flemmings in the real world.

      1. For non-scientist the work would look pretty slow, endless hours reviewing previous research, days, weeks collecting specimens, months analyzing them, months reviewing the data and interpreting it and months or years analyzing and writing. Anyone who takes these instant studies with anything but a large grain of salt don’t understand that science rarely ever works that way. It is a slow drudge most of the time.

    4. I don’t know why it’s hard for the science community to just come out and admit the truth. Responsible, accurate science takes a long, long time.

      Unfortunately the incentives are all their for outright fraud. Grad students need to have good results for their theses. Professors need good results for their proposals. So you see lots and lots of stunning results.

      1. It is hard to report negative results, and they rarely ever get published. The publish or perish mentality needs to end. Most scientist believe this is the biggest hindrance to good science.

    5. As a classically trained scientist, contradictory studies actually increase my confidence in research. They either show that the original hypothesis was mistaken or that it requires refinement. This is how science works and advances. I question when there is no contradictory studies or no one ever attempts to replicate the results. My Masters Thesis was on the benefits of lactic acid bacteria and exogenous fibrolytic enzyme inoculants on the ensiling characteristics of different forages. The former is well hashed territory but it is still worthy of reviewing. The latter is newer territory but still well researched. It won’t ever win me a Nobel Prize but it improves our understanding and has real, practical applications. And the peer review process does help, it helped me find a mistake I hadn’t seen, but it was minor and didn’t impact the overall findings. Still, correcting it made my findings better (and more in line with previous findings, albeit some of my findings we couldn’t explain or contradicted previous findings). Science is messy. It isn’t mixing different solutions together hoping for a eureka moment. It’s grinding away, collecting data and then grinding away, interpreting/analyzing the data.

      1. Thanks for being one of the good ones who has principles and having the time and patience to explain it to rubes like me. I always enjoy your comments.

    6. Responsible, accurate science takes a long, long time.

      Over my thirty plus years on this Earth, I still don’t know which part of the egg I should be eating.

      1. Eat it all, there is nutritional value in all parts of it, including the shell. Take any “study” labeling a food good or bad with a large grain of salt (which also isn’t good or bad, salt is necessary for adequate bodily functions as is sugar).

        1. I do eat it all minus the shell. I get my shell eating from steamed Maryland Blue Crab. Now that is good eating and I don’t care what any damn scientist has to say about that.

          1. Orange peels are also a great source of vitamin C and A. I always eat mine after I finish a Manhattan.

        2. But egg whites by themselves are so yucky. However, a bit of crumbled up eggshell is good to add to the ground beans before brewing coffee.

    7. This was never about science; this was a political hack job. They started with a conclusion, that Trump was wrong about the drug and then worked backward to find data to support it. This is nothing new, was perfected in the 80s by Michael Moore when he made Roger & Me, started with the premise that Roger Smith laid off workers to move the jobs to Mexico and then found anything he could put together to make it look like that is what happened. They do it all the time with global warming, they start with a conclusion that the earth is going to melt and then search around for anything that proves their conclusion.

      1. It is called confirmation bias, and is very rampant in the social “sciences” and to often in medicine.

      2. I only watched part of that movie, the part where Moore excoriated Smith for moving jobs. Smith said that he could not find enough willing employees in the area, so Moore challenged him, asking that Smith reconsider if Moore could find enough willing employees. Moore came up with only 1/3 of the needed employees, but was still browbeating Smith not to move. Disgusting. That was all I needed to know about that fat idiot.

      3. Yeah. This is confirmation bias and it’s a natural human tendency. We all do it to some degree. I’m with you that it is far more irritating coming out of the chattering class with a total lack of humility or self-awareness. It’s flat out evil when it is done completely knowingly as a manipulation tactic. I can’t really adjudicate who’s doing it maliciously and who’s doing it because they’re over-confident morons. I don’t live in people’s heads. I will call it out when I see it though.

        1. This, all scientist are to a degree egotistical. We hate being proven wrong but the good ones learn to accept it. The bad ones (cough Mann cough) attack the detractors and take it personally.

          1. Mann’s problem is he tried to take extractpulate to much out of a distinct model. Rather than accept the criticism and refine his modeling he latched out.

  9. The name of the fucking company is fucking Surgisphere as in fucking Surge the fear. ARE. YOU. FUCKING. JOKING.

    1. It turns of fucking Alex Jones is closer to the truth on how this whole thing is than I could have ever imagined. WTF.

      1. Careful, Mr Jones may eat your ass.

  10. The important question, though, is what does Trump think about this study? Then I can know whether it’s 100000%%%% accurate science or unproven speculation that will cause innumerable untold deaths if heeded.

    1. Trump’s already called Droxy a miracle cure for COVID-19. If you can’t trust a con man who can you trust?

      1. Obviously not the experts (and those like you who worship them without critical thinking) who have been wrong on just about everything in regards to this pandemic.

      2. What about all those physicians who have been successfully treating thousands of COVID patients with the hydroxy/zith/zinc cocktail?

        1. A placebo would have done the same thing.

          1. Do you have research to back that up? And don’t knock the placebo effect. Laymen often think placebo means bad, but almost all medicine is to some degree placebo.

            1. An absurd number of maladies will be cured simply with time and self care.

              1. Many viruses. Manage the symptoms is usually all that is required.

              2. One of the best examples of placebo effect having real world outcomes is acupuncture. It doesn’t matter needle placement, the recorded outcomes are the same for those that it works for.

          2. Now who’s cherry picking which “experts” to believe?

  11. A major study in The Lancet said it doesn’t—but it may have relied on fabricated data.

    There seems to be a pattern at The Lancet.

  12. Trmp’s Mini-Me in Brazil is also a pharma expert:

    Coronavirus: Brazil stands by hydroxychloroquine despite WHO’s suspension of trials

    https://www.straitstimes.com/world/americas/coronavirus-brazil-stands-by-hydroxychloroquine-despite-who

    Imagine that. Two authoritarian assholes pushing fake cures for political problems. Who could have guessed?

    1. WHO’s suspension was based on BS studies. But continue being you.

    2. Imagine proggies misrepresenting the fact that the President’s recommendations were made based upon actual research being performed in a number of countries. But as soon as the President mentions it, they act like it had no scientific basis.

    3. BTW quinine comes from Brazil originally and had been used for millennia there as an anti-inflammatory for a number of different diseases and ailments.

  13. Nope, peer reviewed. That makes it good and perfect and to be submitted to and obeyed without question. Peer Review. Scientists are accountable to each other, to themselves, not to us peons.

  14. It is a bit simplistic but Hollywood and the media have a lot of blame. They treat scientist as working in a lab having a sudden eureka moment that saves the world just before the credits role. This isn’t how science works. For every Flemming, who discovered penicillin through a fluke (though even that story is more myth than fact) you have a Salk who spent nearly a decade working on his polio, and the Salks outnumber the Flemmings in the real world. Spot News 18

    1. Hollywood and the media are largely comprised of stupid people. Which is why they are mostly progressives.

    2. Uhmm, what happened here?

  15. “spot news 18” is taking others comments and reposting them. I’d avoid their link.

    1. Yeah. See that.

    2. The lowest form of plagerism.

      1. It won’t really be the lowest until he copy and pastes Buttplug.

  16. Ron, what I would ask (and the entire scientific community should as well) is what can be done to fix peer review?

    Reading about the company, this should have raised major red flags up and down the line. Did none of the peers actually call the hospitals? Check on the company itself?

    I know peer review is a miserable task, but if this is what peer review leads to, it is also pointless.

    1. End the publish or perish mentality. Encourage publishers to publish negative results and or contradictory results. Add a reference to peer reviewers attached to the studt. Anonymity allows them to mail it in without any accountability. If there name was attached to a bogus study they would be more willing to be more critical. Improve education in research and scientific editing for undergrad and grad science students (we had very little at my school, spent lots of time on actual science and statistics less so on evaluating other people’s work). Encourage grad students (and their advisors) to spend more time on replicating other people’s findings (everyone wants grants and they rarely give grants to study older findings). Revamp the grant systems. All too often grant applications ask how this research is new and innovative, so replication work is often industry funded, not that that is a bad thing but it is limiting. Science is expensive and competitive. Everyone wants to find the next new thing but there is a real need to review the last old thing.

      1. Thanks again for spending so much time chatting with me. These are some really good suggestions and I hope you’re one day in a position where you can have some sort of influence to implement some of it. It’s nice to have a good meaningful talk on here that doesn’t just succumb to complete nihilism, as fun as that can be. You just made me ignore a lot of work I should be doing.

        1. I was watching a webinar on invasive species and COVID-19 for work. While watching might be a stretch. It was on and I absorbed some of it. As for being in a position, no thanks, I prefer not being in leadership roles. Just let me do my job (which sucks now because almost everything I had planned to teach this summer has been cancelled because of COVID-19 and I am struggling to get motivated to do anything).

  17. no money in being the only Correct Science if you’re 3 months behind the Incorrect in presenting it.

  18. The idea that science researchers have an obligation to be transparent and share their research databases with people who are only interested in looking for flaws in their research or piggy-backing their own research off of it is an outdated idea of sciencing. Why would you want to support research parasites?

    1. Oh for fuck sake… Eye roll…

    2. For the betterment of all mankind?

      1. Or just because… oh that is interesting?

  19. If anything comes out of the COVID-19 situation at the end of the day, it will be a huge increase in the lack of trust in experts.

    1. Science promotes skepticism, scientism rejects skepticism. That is usually how you can differentiate the two.

  20. As usual Harsanyl does it better.
    https://www.nationalreview.com/corner/about-that-scary-hydroxychloroquine-study/?utm_source=recirc-desktop&utm_medium=homepage&utm_campaign=right-rail&utm_content=corner&utm_term=second

    A Guardian investigation can reveal the US-based company Surgisphere, whose handful of employees appear to include a science fiction writer and an adult-content model, has provided data for multiple studies on Covid-19 co-authored by its chief executive, but has so far failed to adequately explain its data or methodology.

  21. Here’s a comment I posted at the end of the first Ron Bailey article, after it had gone fairly cold:
    ————-

    http://joannenova.com.au/2020/05/hydroxychloroquine-lancet-study-of-96000-covid-patients-ignores-zinc-wasnt-randomized-has-12-death-rate/
    Hydroxychloroquine Lancet study of 96,000 Covid patients ignores Zinc, wasn’t randomized, has 12% death rate

    A new study came out last night in the Lancet which is being used to call for the end of doctors using Choloroquine and Hydroxychloroquine to treat Covid patients without them being enrolled in a clinical trial. Some of the claims about “no chance of any benefit” seem a bit premature given the limits of this kind of study:

    Superficially, it looks large and comprehensive but there are three obvious problems with it –

    1. It ignores zinc entirely. There is not even a mention of the essential mineral, despite Chloroquine being a well known zinc ionophone (something that pumps a mineral across a cell membrane) and intracellular zinc being identified as a useful anti-viral.

    2. It’s not randomized. If doctors are prescribing these drugs to sicker patients or patients with a certain (unknown) genetic risk factor that selection bias (there we go again) could neutralize the entire result. We just don’t know.

    3. These were sick people. The total mortality in this whole group was almost 12%. This trial tells us nothing about using these drugs as preventative measures in mild or moderate cases. It doesn’t tell us whether people had symptoms for a week before getting to hospital — and presumably if people saw a doctor early on, used HCQ and zinc, and then didn’t go to hospital at all (because they recovered) then they won’t be counted at all.

    So this trial successfully filters and removes the success stories (whatever they are) from early HCQ treatment.

  22. Today comes out a small study published in NEJM followed by a reply.

    It concerns a trial about the use of HCQ as a preventative drug against COVID – 19.

    https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa2016638?query=featured_coronavirus

    1. Followed by this reply.

      https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMe2020388?query=recirc_curatedRelated_article

      Judge for yourself but I have yet to see convincing evidence that this drug works against this virus in vivo.

  23. the study looked only at people who were already dying from the disease. One of the few things we know about this disease is that if it’s already hit you so bad that you need a respirator, you’re basically fucked.

    No one ever said HCQ would save people who were dying. Clearly, it will only serve to shorten the length of the disease for people who get it and lessen the number of serious cases among heartier/younger people, ONLY IF STARTED EARLY. This is pretty obvious common sense stuff based on the only thing the HCQ could be doing internally in the body, which is slightly ingterrupting viral reprodoicution.

    I suspect this study was invented specifically to discredit HCQ, since it’s off-patent, which means neither drug companies nor the FDA can make money off of it.

  24. The editors further note that “an independent audit of the provenance and validity of the data has been commissioned by the authors not affiliated with Surgisphere and is ongoing, with results expected very shortly.” electricians in lancaster ca

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