COVID-19 Retraction of articles from The Lancet and New England Journal of Medicine

Professor Julie Simpson

Prof Julie Simpson

Two weeks ago an article was published in The Lancet that claimed to have analysed data from 96,032 hospitalized COVID-19 patients from six continents, reporting a substantial increase (1.3 fold) in deaths associated with the use of hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine. The findings became a major news item, pausing the recruitment of the hydroxychloroquine arm in the WHO SOLIDARITY randomised controlled trial. Led by Dr James Watson (Mahidol Oxford Research Unit) with contributions and endorsement from members of our Biostatistics Unit:- Professor Julie Simpson (Course Coordinator of Master of Biostatistics), Prof. John Carlin, Dr David Price, Ms Sabine Braat and Dr Karen Lamb, an open statement was published raising concerns about the integrity of the statistical analysis and data (see

The same group of authors had published a paper in the New England Journal of Medicine 21 days prior to the Lancet paper, with very strange findings regarding the relationship between age and death from COVID 19.  An open letter, co-authored again by our biostatisticians ( was submitted to the New England Journal of Medicine on the 2nd of June, and just 3 days later both papers have been retracted by the journals.

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Prof Julie Simpson