The death rate of those in the control group who didn't take the drugs was 9.3%, while that of those who received chloroquine was 16.4%, and those who received hydroxychloroquine 18%, according to the now retracted paper.
Scientists acknowledge, though, that studies are being conducted at break-neck speed while garnering unprecedented levels of attention that could give findings unwarranted weight.
A pharmacy tech pours out pills of hydroxychloroquine at Rock Canyon Pharmacy in Provo Utah
Back at the start of the pandemic, laboratory studies had suggested the malaria drug could affect the virus.
In a joint statement published on The Lancet's website, they write that a set of independent peer reviewers "informed us that Surgisphere would not transfer the full dataset, client contracts, and the full ISO [International Organization for Standardization] audit report to their servers for analysis as such transfer would violate client agreements and confidentiality requirements".
Despite the finding apparently vindicating hydroxychloroquine's safety, there is not yet any proof from a randomized clinical trial (RCT) that the medicine is effective against COVID-19.
"If you're admitted to hospital, don't take hydroxychloroquine", he said.
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The World Health Organization announced Wednesday that it is set to resume an global trial testing the effectiveness of hydroxychloroquine in treating COVID-19 after the organization had previously suspended the trial over safety concerns.
"We have concluded that there is no beneficial effect of hydroxychloroquine in patients hospitalised with COVID-19", the statement said.
This is the latest installment in the long-running hydroxychloroquine saga - a drug that gained worldwide notoriety after U.S. president Donald Trump touted it as a "game changer" and then admitted to taking it as a preventive treatment.
At the time of publication the authors of the study published in The Lancet declared this large-scale study - in a long line of existing studies - as the most definite proof that the drug is ineffective against Covid-19.
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Unfortunately, many scientists who are not involved in the study said that they were in doubt with the released findings of Lancet.
Though this paper had not been peer-reviewed or appeared in a journal, it caused a run on the drug in Latin America where it is widely available. The trial immediately stopped using the drug.
On May 22, a study published by The Lancet, a medical journal, claimed chloroquine had no positive effect on the treatment of COVID-19 among 96,032 sampled patients.
"We understand the trial will remain on hold for the next 10 days while the researchers determine whether to suspend for the summer pending (a) fall recurrence of cases or close the trial formally with a plan for data pooling with worldwide collaborators", said Tom McMillan in an email to Global News.
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