Coronavirus

The Lancet's Hydroxychloroquine Study Is Retracted by Its Authors

The observational dataset on which it was based could not be properly audited.

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The Lancet published a high profile study on May 22 purporting to show that treating hospitalized COVID-19 patients actually increased their risk of death. Three authors of the study are now retracting it.

The study was based an observational database assembled by medical data aggregation firm Surgisphere which claimed to have access to the medical records of nearly 100,000 COVID-19 patients treated in hundreds of hospitals across the globe. Outside researchers almost immediately began questioning the accuracy and plausibility of the Surgisphere data.

In response Surgisphere promised to pursue an immediate independent audit of its dataset. Yesterday, the editors of The Lancet issued an Expression of Concern about the article and noted that they were awaiting the results of the promised audit.

The retraction statement issued this afternoon by three of the article's authors declares:

We launched an independent third-party peer review of Surgisphere with the consent of Sapan Desai to evaluate the origination of the database elements, to confirm the completeness of the database, and to replicate the analyses presented in the paper.

Our independent peer reviewers informed us that Surgisphere would not transfer the full dataset, client contracts, and the full ISO audit report to their servers for analysis as such transfer would violate client agreements and confidentiality requirements. As such, our reviewers were not able to conduct an independent and private peer review and therefore notified us of their withdrawal from the peer-review process.

We always aspire to perform our research in accordance with the highest ethical and professional guidelines. We can never forget the responsibility we have as researchers to scrupulously ensure that we rely on data sources that adhere to our high standards. Based on this development, we can no longer vouch for the veracity of the primary data sources. Due to this unfortunate development, the authors request that the paper be retracted.

The Lancet noted that the article will be updated shortly to reflect the retraction.

This notable retraction will surely act as an accelerant to the ongoing politicized firestorm over the efficacy of the antimalarials hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine as treatments for COVID-19.

In other news, the New England Journal of Medicine has just published a randomized placebo-controlled study that found that hydroxychloroquine is not an effective preventive treatment for people exposed to the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. In that study, half of a cohort of 800 participants who had been exposed to COVID-19 were randomly given doses of hydroxychloroquine and half were supplied with a placebo. "After high-risk or moderate-risk exposure to Covid-19, hydroxychloroquine did not prevent illness compatible with Covid-19 or confirmed infection when used as postexposure prophylaxis within 4 days after exposure," concluded the researchers.

The results of further randomized controlled studies of the two antimalarials in combination with other drugs in the next couple of months should provide more definitive answers as to their efficacy with respect to treating COVID-19.

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  2. Interesting the timing of the release of this new study. Why should we trust any of these people anymore at all. Noone has any credibility left. This should be about the 2nd biggest story in the country right now the fact that it’s not even 10th is hilarious. Instead we are getting wall to wall astroturf election year race war story and the new york times had a walkout or something of people they’d be better off locking the doors behind them as they left and hiring new people.

    1. I’m surprised that the decidedly pink Guardian, of all places, did a proper investigation into the studies sources.
      If it were an American establishment rag like the NYT or WaPo they would have covered it up and declared anyone who questioned the study “racist”.

      Also, kudos to Bailey for not memory-holing this like his peers in other outfits.

      1. I’m hopeful we can get the old Bailey back. I used to really enjoy his articles before the orange man came and gave the chattering class a collective lobotomy.

        1. He did try claiming climate models are accurate. And refused to acknowledge the many issues with then.

          1. AGW is a religious belief. Not science.

    2. I assume by “this study” you are referring to the New England Journal of Medicine one, not the retracted Lancet one. What makes you think the timing of the publication was manipulated for political purposes?

      1. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/jun/03/covid-19-surgisphere-who-world-health-organization-hydroxychloroquine

        “Surgisphere, whose employees appear to include a sci-fi writer and adult content model, provided database behind Lancet and New England Journal of Medicine hydroxychloroquine studies”

        How fucking dumb do you feel?

        1. Yes, I heard about all that. You completely blew off my actual question.

          1. No. I pointed out the answer, you’re just too dumb to connect the dots. The same journal you asked about also had a peer reviewed paper that passed all of their gates despite using bad data from a very suspect company. A company so suspect, many non peer reviewers immediately pointed out the suspect data. This means the New Wngland of Journal either has a bias or a suspect peer review process. If this is true for one study, it is likely true of others. The world of peer reviewers isnt as large as these journals pretend, why Mann discussed shutting out dissenting opinions from climate journals.

            Despite all this… you seem to defend the very journal whose own process failed.

            So…

            Now answer my question. How fucking dumb do you feel?

            1. You seem to be talking about The Lancet study, when I asked Idle Hands about the New England Journal study. Maybe you should let Idle Hands answer, since he is the person who made an assertion that the New England Journal study’s release was politically timed.

              1. Okay. You’re literally too fucking stupid to bother with. I literally said New England Journal of Medicine in my post dummy.

                Did you even read the guardian link?

                Lancet isnt the only journal pushing shit hcq studies.

                Please ask Reason for an imbed image feature and maybe youd understand a picture.

                1. Jesse, there are two different NEJM studies. The one that was retracted was not about HCQ.

                  But I think when Idle Hands referred to “this study” he was talking about the investigation into Surgisphere, not a peer-reviewed study.

          2. No he didn’t. Quit posturing and read the Guardian article, Jeff.

            “Two of the world’s leading medical journals – the Lancet and the New England Journal of Medicine – published studies based on Surgisphere data. The studies were co-authored by the firm’s chief executive, Sapan Desai.

            Both the Journal and Lancet studies were fed by the same conman using phony data.

            I suppose you’ll dismiss the Guardian as a Trumpist rag now because of this.

    3. The WHO has ordered a stop to all HOChl studies. They din’t like the idea that it might work and leave their proposed yearly vaccine payments out in the cold

    4. !BRAVO!

  3. …the New England Journal of Medicine has just published a randomized placebo-controlled study that found that hydroxychloroquine is not an effective preventive treatment for people exposed to the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.

    1. We look forward to its eventual retraction?

      1. The Guardian just reported that both the Journal and Lancet studies were fed by the same conman using the same phony data.

        A retraction of the New England Journal of Medicine study as well is expected any moment now.

        1. The *new* NEJM study was an actual double-blind study, not based on the same source. However the summary of results here is misleading. If you look at the study in detail it pretty clearly suggests HCQ *does* help prevent covid-19 when given immediately after an exposure. Those who started treatment within four days had a reduced risk of about 18%. Alas, the study was underpowered to detect that magnitude of risk reduction – risk needed to be reduced by *50%* in order to exceed the 95% confidence level.

          An even more interesting result was the breakdown of risk by day. Starting treatment the day after exposure had the most risk reduction, starting at day 2 a bit less, day 3 only a small amount and waiting until day 4 did worse than the control. So averaging days 1, 2, 3, and 4 as a combined set produces MUCH LESS apparent benefit than just looking at the result for days 1 and 2. Their study suggests MORE than ~18% risk reduction for healthcare workers who start treatment *immediately upon exposure*.

          The study also found no evidence of serious side effects, contradicting earlier claims. The right takeaway from this study is that we need to run another, bigger study ASAP focusing on healthcare workers (a) taking it RIGHT AWAY after exposure, (b) taking it prophylactically.

          1. The NEJM study seems reasonably useful.

            Even if the study had a sample size sufficient to validate the 18% reduction that is still a rather disappointing result for disease prophylaxis. Particularly so when you consider that the disease is relatively innoccuous for otherwise healthy individuals, and also does not appear to be exceptionally contagious in the general population.

            It could indicate that such use might be appropriate in select populations – e.g. nursing homes – where risk of transmission and morbidity/mortality is highest. But otherwise would tend to indicate that it’s not a great option for general prophylactic use. Especially given the difficulty of timing therapy initiation to exposure, which in the general population will more often than not be asymptomatic.

    2. Not surprising result since the drug, when used in conjunction with zinc according to the literature, (which these researchers never bothered to read or cite) was only intended to reduce the severity of the disease, not act as a postexposure prophylaxis. They do state “One result of our approach was that enrolled participants were generally younger and healthier than those at risk for severe Covid-19. Although the risk of severe Covid-19 is related to age and coexisting conditions, the risk of acquiring symptomatic infection is generally still present among adults, regardless of age.” And further “Whether preexposure prophylaxis would be effective in high-risk populations is a separate question, with trials ongoing.”
      So it’s another study that adds nothing of value since it does not address the regime that has actually been adopted by many clinical practitioners.

      1. There are political and economic motives for many groups to downplay the effectiveness of hydroxychloroquine. From those with interests in big pharma that want to bring new drugs to market, to progressives that seek to ride this crisis to a Trump defeat.

    3. They published that nuclear reactors decreased the death rate because all other power generation was WAY more dangerous. That turned out to be correct–after the looter mobs had burned everyghing down.

  4. Find “Zinc” in report.

    No results.

      1. Hi abc. Still sore ass from last thread?

        1. He’s too stupid for that.

    1. All the talk about zinc is pretty much anecdotal. How people can use that to discount the results of any actual study escapes me.

      1. Essentially, they are saying that they are studying the wrong thing. I made a similar point further down in the thread about the new study listed earlier. They used a dichotomy “have symptoms” vs “No symptoms” and showed a 35% reduction in anyone with symptoms. Their study troubles meant that you would need a 50% reduction to be statistically significant.

        However, no one is saying that it will prevent you from getting the disease completely. The idea is that it will mitigate the effects and lower the damage. The fact that we keep getting rushed studies that have absurdly large error bars or seem to be deliberately studying the wrong thing makes me suspicious that these are designed to be political punditry.

        1. How do you quantify reduced symptoms? I could well believe that it does, but there are so many other variables to take into account that saying “without the zinc he would have been coughing more heavily” or whatever is very hard to prove.

          1. Well, I think you hit the nail on the head.

            Personally, I would check for better health outcomes. Shorter hospitalizations on aggregate. With a grand total of 2 hospitalizations and no deaths, this was far too low to show any such thing. The RECOVERY study from the other article at least seemed to look at the right datapoints.

            I never said it was easy. But measuring something simple but not alleged is a cheap shortcut.

  5. if we ignore them they will go away.

    1. Did you see that Mayor Jim Kenney had Rizzo’s statue pulled down last night?

      1. lol I have now. shoulda given it the Jebediah Springfield statue treatment

        also that was the first PhillyInquirer.com story I’ve clicked on in any recent memory but now I only have 1 free story left. what dicks.

      2. Why was there a statue of a Jerky Boys character anyway?

  6. It’s supposedly works with Zinc, according to the original French doctor. But somehow all the studies don’t include that.

    I don’t think there is a better case of how science has been politicized than this. Because Trump is in favor of something, scientists are eager to rush out studies that prove him wrong, without actually doing science

    1. >>without actually doing science

      “large unmasked groups okay with us as long as protesters”

      1. Racism is a disease just like Covid.

        1. “Losing is a disease…as contagious as bubonic plague… attacking one…but infecting all. But curable.”

          1. Love it!

    2. It is more than politicized, it is monetized. The big drug companies do not want a cheap, readily available generic drug to turn out to be an effective treatment for this. They want to develop a vaccine or a new drug that can make them money. So, they have done everything they can to discredit this. And that is why the studies didn’t include zinc. They were designed to fail.

      1. That’s not really true John. There is still plenty of money to be made if an off-patent product works, especially if you own or control an already FDA approved process for manufacturing a product containing that drug.

        Such processses are not set up overnight, nor are they cheap, so you really would not have much if others any rushing in to try and compete. Especially so if you have already covered your sunk costs. Given the episodic nature of this outbreak it is possible that nobody else would even try to compete, leaving you with quite a bounty.

        Thos latter issues – the likelihood that this issue will spontaneously fade away long before you could bring a new product on line, and the incredible expense of bringing any such new product on line – are really what is inhibiting action.

  7. Science! Believe it!

    1. I saw some article saying there was a strong correlation between those who wear masks in public and those who are “pro-science.”

    2. Because its SETTLED!

  8. Hahaha. My hoard of pennies and tonic water is gonna be worth a FORTUNE!! Zinc here! Get your zinc here!

    1. You are so stupid it’s amazing to watch.

    2. Remember when you called people racist for understanding statistics yesterday?

    3. If somebody did a study and excluded zinc, they did so because of their political leanings. The pro-Trump yahoos here KNOW that’s their motivation.

      1. You are literally getting mad because people have read and actually understand the actual scientific question being presented. How angry you get when people notice misleading studies.

        1. I’m not angry. That’s your projection.

          Why do people in these comments claim to know the motivation of researcher’s exclusion of zinc, based on no actual knowledge of their motivations.

          1. Because it is obvious. We understand why you dont understand. You’re not smart. You cant even figure out above where I was specifically talking about the New England Journal of Medicine.

  9. Hey Retard Bailey, what about that email KevinP sent you about the French doctor whose trials with Hydroxycloroquine w/ Zinc showed to benefit patients? Apparently you read the email but failed to respond or to report on it. Huh.
    I’ll link to the thread in question, but it would seem the comments section on that particular article is conveniently not working.

    I know you read the comments so a response in kind would be lovely. Also you are a fucking dishonest loser. toodles!

    https://reason.com/2020/05/26/hydroxychloroquine-and-chloroquine-increase-covid-19-patients-risk-of-death-says-new-study/#comment-8269225

  10. Garbage in, garbage out. Been true forever and a bit longer.

  11. Let me remind people of two things:
    1. The retraction of this study does not mean that hydroxychloroquine has medical benifit for covid. It just means that the study results should be ignored.
    2. The fact that using hydroxychloroquine is politicized is nuts. Use of medications should be left to science without any political bias. I still don’t why this is even a politicized issue.

    1. Because Elon Musk said he thought it was worth looking into?
      Oh wait, I guess when Trump mentioned it later, it became political.

    2. You don’t know why it is politicized? Donald Trump politicized it.

      1. Because he mentioned it by name? Lol. God you’re pathetic sarc… nm.

        1. He went beyond merely mentioning it.

          1. I know. He dared to say “it might work or it might not, I’m optimistic.” What a fucking asshole.

          2. Oh? How so?

    3. Oh you know Molly. You know.

    4. Well, given that if Donald Trump stated that the sky is blue, much of the media would be furious and demand that it was purple, you cannot hope for anything to stay unpolitical for long.

  12. Mr. Bailey….Weren’t you bashing ‘Orange Man Bad’ just a couple of weeks ago citing this exact study?

    1. No, that was your exaggerated reading of what he wrote, because you are hypersensitive to any criticism of the Dear Leader you worship.

  13. As someone else said, if Reason had a science correspondent, they may have caught this. They don’t, so they didn’t.

    Orange Man Bad.

    https://retractionwatch.com/the-retraction-watch-leaderboard/top-10-most-highly-cited-retracted-papers/

    1. He just wrote about the retraction.

  14. So Trump’s Droxy cure is more snake oil from a con man.

    In other news, the New England Journal of Medicine has just published a randomized placebo-controlled study that found that hydroxychloroquine is not an effective preventive treatment for people exposed to the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.

    And the gullible will still believe him.

    1. Wait nevermind I’m a fucking retard.

      1. And a pedophile. Don’t forget that.

  15. Repost from earlier:

    What’s up Peanuts, this is probably weird and I don’t really care if you hate me or not, I just have a few things to say. I know most of you don’t like me. Despise me probably. I’ve been not the nicest to some of you here and I want to apologize. I know it means nothing and some of you will probably hate me even more now, but I’ve realized some things recently that put life in perspective and I’m trying to make amends and come to terms with who I am.
    This last week both of my parents died. My father was in the hospital for over 2 weeks with a severe case of Covid, we were not allowed to visit him. They put him on a vent for the last week and he passed away late last Thursday. We only found out after calling the hospital to check on him. The assholes didn’t even call us to tell us.
    Then on Monday the most fucked up thing in my entire life, my mother’s apartment was broken into by a group of teens, she was robbed, gang raped at knifepoint and then stabbed over 70 times and shot in the head. These fucking losers spray painted ‘Black Lives Matter’ on her wall and then had the fucking balls to piss on her cat before throwing him out the 5th story window. No one, not even the fucking Orange Clown fucking deserves that.
    I thought life couldn’t get any worse. I feel like a fucking loser even telling you wingnuts this but fuck it I don’t even know how to process all of this and I don’t have anywhere else to say it. I have no friends, no money, no job, no anything. I keep hanging around here because I actually like some of you. I want to be liked and have friends here, but it makes me so fucking pissed being hated by everyone. that’s it. I hope some of you can forgive me for the past, yes I have a drug problem and I say stupid shit when I’m high. Right now is the lowest point of my life and I’m not asking for your sympathy but I at least want to try to have a normal conversation with people. If y’all still hate me I get it because at this point I hate me too.
    Thanks for being my best friends for life,

    Plug

    1. Tulpa, your obsession with me is unhealthy.

      For you, that is. And don’t mix your Droxy with Prozac.

      1. Stop Stealing my handle!!!!!!!!!!

        1. Also, not Tulpa, thanks. Butt. Plug.

    2. Highly entertaining, and a lot better writer than Freddye, Faecelawerd or Sieve.

  16. I don’t want to say that there is a bias in the main stream media but…

    When the study came out that this medication supposedly caused an increase in fatalities, there were news articles aplenty on Apple news gleefully reporting that trumps’s favored cure actually killed people.

    But when the article was retracted today, there is not a single story on Apple news reporting that fact.

    1. Was it bias when 4 star US Marine General and Def Sec Mattis shit all over Trump yesterday?

      1. You sure do love your neocon warmongers, huh.

    2. Oh, look, Fox covered it:

      https://www.foxnews.com/science/covid-19-papers-retracted-lancet-new-england-medical-journal

      Oh, that’s right, Fox doesn’t count because the definition of MSM is not “major news outlet”, it’s “major news outlets that are liberal”. The conservative victimhood is so much easier when you use the power of confirmation bias.

  17. Remember it was the Lancet that published and then took 12 years to retract the notorious paper linking autism to MMR vaccines:
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2831678/

    This time pre-publication peer review failed once again, but at least this time the Lancet moved quickly after publication to address the problems.

    1. Thanks for that info. I was wondering what was prompting the unsupported assertions, but it’s not my area and I had no clue where to look. –libertariantranslator

    2. What about the one that linked libertarians to autism?

      1. That one was mostly true.

        Selfburn

  18. THIS is the kind of article that keeps me coming back to Reason despite one of the soi-disant writers. The Love Canal article was the best, equalled only by Michael Crichton’s explanation of Why Pseudoscience is dangerous. To get rid of communism by 1991 the Russians had to gut their State Science Institutes.

  19. S C I E N C E

    1. I don’t think anyone thinks Hunter Biden broke Ukrainian law. I think the problem is his father broke US law. The point was to get Biden to strong arm the Ukraine into ignoring criminality on the part of Burisma not Hunter Biden personally. So, it should surprise no one that Hunter Biden didn’t break any laws in Ukraine himself.

      1. Yeah. It is a pretty silly focus. The issue wasnt Hunter breaking the law, it was about a Ukranian company buying influence by paying the VPs son. But sarcasmic there is too dumb to understand what the argument actually is

  20. Am I the only one finding it impossible to see the comments on the appalling “we are all Tank man” article? Is reason trying to spare the author the deserved torrent of abuse that will come in the comments?

    1. I just did, but there’s only 12 comments.

    2. I can only access the comments to that article if I log out.

      Maybe they turned them off because the premise was too obviously retarded.

    3. The comments are accessible on my phone, not on my laptop.

  21. The FDA should return to its original mandate of simply determining if a drug is safe for human consumption. The FDA should not be in the business of determining the efficacy of a drug.

    The bureaucracy like most has increased the focus of what they were created for to increase their budget and power. All of the additional rules and regulations that the bureaucrats have added have directly affected the ability to get this pandemic under control.

    A lot of the rules were suspended so we could make progress because the bureaucracy completely failed and was hampering progress. A good place to start would be to never reinstitute the worthless regulations and streamline the processes.

  22. I am very familiar with biomedical research and the drug development process. It’s a high stakes game made even higher now with COVID-19, so there is every incentive to fudge your data in order to get approval. Add to this the fact that nobody really knows much of anything about this coronavirus and you have a real shit show where even esteemed journals publish crap.

  23. This should be a disaster for The Lancet, not merely for their credibility but also for their gross display of unethical behavior.

    Our independent peer reviewers informed us that Surgisphere would not transfer the full dataset, client contracts, and the full ISO audit report to their servers for analysis as such transfer would violate client agreements and confidentiality requirements.

    Meaning Surgisphere never had permission to use the data in that manner. So what they did was unethical, and any sharing of their results thus also being unethical. It also indicates that their data analysis was NOT part of any Insititutional Review Board approved medical study. Which is another reason it should never be called a ‘study’ nor ever published in a reputable medical journal.

    The Lancet really should have known all of this, if only because their own policy mandates access to the data set of anything submitted for publication. Which is not something easily overlooked – it took an overt effort to ignore it. How they thought this would escape scrutiny and exposure escapes me.

    Although, absent any real repercussions, they very well may get away with it.

    1. “This should be a disaster for The Lancet, not merely for their credibility but also for their gross display of unethical behavior.”

      It was the authors who retracted the study. Lancet is a magazine.

      ” How they thought this would escape scrutiny and exposure escapes me.”

      They? You mean the authors? The authors examined the data in response to criticism and retracted the study. This doesn’t show the author’s trying to ‘escape scrutiny.’

      1. ” Lancet is a magazine.”

        Lancet is (ostensibly) in a subset of magazine called “medical journal.” This is a term that used to have real meaning.

        That you do not understand this is unsurprising, but probably not your fault. I suppose this is where you could be told the line about hiding your ignorance through silence, but you’ve clearly removed all doubt.

        1. You are confusing the magazine publishers with the magazine contributors. I wish to make this clear.

      2. The thing is, it’s evident that the authors never looked at the data in much detail to begin with. The irregularities that prompted the demand for a data audit would have been picked up much earlier in the process.

        Apparently their “study” consisted of buying a dataset from Surgisphere, and running it through a spread sheet without looking at it.

        1. Medical journals also supposedly employ a special process for evaluating submissions for potential publication. It is called ‘peer review’ and it involves sending the draft document to recognized experts in that particular area or specialty. Those people are then supposed to read and critique the article in order to detect such problems prior to any embarassing publication of it. Peer review is what supposedly separates medical journals and other scientific publications from merely being magazines.

          Apparently their “study” consisted of buying a dataset from Surgisphere, and running it through a spread sheet without looking at it.

          Something any third year med student would have recognized.

        2. “The thing is, it’s evident that the authors never looked at the data in much detail to begin with.”

          And the authors withdrew the paper once they became aware of the problems. It seems the decent thing to have done. Ranting on about how ‘they’ tried to escape scrutiny is unduly tendentious.

  24. The timing of the release isn’t really surprising.
    The interpretation of the result is insulting. They interpreted a 35% reduction in any symptoms (14.9% to 11.8%) as a null result. I have to say, this is the first time I’ve seen the news actually require a 50% reduction for it to be considered “significant”.

    The reason for the huge confidence range is that their quality was horrible. They lost 10% of their patients over the course of such a short study, and 25% did not take all of the medicine. When you have more people who stopped the treatment than showed symptoms, you cannot draw meaningful conclusions.

    Worse, they used symptoms, not actual testing to determine who got it. Given the nature of coronavirus, which has relatively common symptoms, this is a problem.

    However, They made no effort to quantify the effect of severity. No one has said that Hydroxychloroquine will prevent development of a virus. It obviously cannot. However, the suggestion is that it can reduce severity of symptoms.

    So we have a study with a lot of problems, investigating something that is not being alleged, and showing a notable result that is statistically insignificant due to the aforementioned problems.

    This is the best we can do? Since when does the New England Journal of Medicine publish such shoddy work?

    1. Since for decades. It’s just usually nobody is looking closely.

      1. I know. There have been numerous publications I’ve read that wouldn’t pass muster at an elementary school science fair.

        This is at least better than that. It’s not bad science overall from what I can tell from the report, but due to the problems during the trial, it should have been published as inconclusive, not a negative.

    2. Just as note, this is a response to the NEJM study mentioned towards the end of the essay. A controlled trial that they said was negative, but as I mentioned, it had a lot of problems. If it wasn’t such a political hot topic, I severely doubt it would ever be published.

  25. And here I was expecting a groveling apology from you, Ron.

  26. In that study, half of a cohort of 800 participants who had been exposed to COVID-19 were randomly given doses of hydroxychloroquine and half were supplied with a placebo. santa barbara electricians

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