COVID-19 medicine Research integrity

Chloroquine genius Didier Raoult to save the world from COVID-19

As COVID19 pandemic rages on, French microbiologist Didier Raoult offers a cure. President Trump is convinced, but is Raoult's research reliable, here and in general?

Coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic is about to be stopped by a stroke of a French “genius” with a history of publishing manipulated data. The charismatic Didier Raoult, director of the Research Unit in Infectious and Tropical Emergent Diseases (URMITE) in Marseille has found a cure: the humble chloroquine, cheap unpatented substance used to treat malaria and autoimmune diseases lupus and rheumatism. The substance so far failed in all antiviral therapies, but this didn’t prevent Raoult from deciding that chloroquine can cure corona virus infections, serious side effects notwithstanding. To prove that, Raoult treated 26 patients at his institution with the derivative hydroxychloroquine, alone and in combination with the antibiotic (meaning antibacterial!) drug azithromycine. The study was not randomised, ethically approved only after it already began, and it was not really controlled: the 16 control patients were treated in different clinics.

After some adjustments (patients removed, data points guessed), a preprint was published simultaneously with a paper in a peer reviewed journal Raoult basically controls. Next, a lawyer with whom Rault partnered with pitched the miracle cure to Fox News, which is the TV channel US president Donald Trump watches all day to get all his information. Trump then tweeted this:

Chaos ensued. People worldwide stormed pharmacies and pet shops for chloroquine, some killed themselves with aquarium cleaner, India banned chloroquine export, while national authorities including French government decided to deploy chloroquine as the medicine to treat COVID19. All based on Trump’s tweets which in turn was based on Fox News promotion of this study by Raoult:

Philippe GAUTRET , Jean Christophe LAGIER author has email , Philippe PAROLA , Van Thuan HOANG , Line MEDDED , Morgan MAILHE , Barbara DOUDIER , Johan COURJON , Valerie GIORDANENGO , Vera ESTEVES VIEIRA , Herve TISSOT DUPONT , Stephane HONORE , Philippe COLSON , Eric CHABRIERE , Bernard LA SCOLA , Jean Marc ROLAIN , Philippe BROUQUI , Didier RAOULT Hydroxychloroquine and Azithromycin as a treatment of COVID-19: preliminary results of an open-label non-randomized clinical trial medRxiv (2020)  doi: 10.1101/2020.03.16.20037135 and International Journal of Antimicrobial Agents (2020) doi: 10.1016/j.ijantimicag.2020.105949 

It is the opposite of proper clinical research practice. The trial started somewhere in March, likely before an ethics vote was applied for. But already on 11 February 2020 Raoult and colleagues decreed which drug can prevent and cure COVID-19. They wrote about chloroquine in Colson et al 2020, published in the same journal:

“Hence, its possible use both in prophylaxis in people exposed to the novel coronavirus and as a curative treatment will probably be promptly evaluated by our Chinese colleagues.”

Normally, Raoult demands that “Studies of infectious syndromes should no longer be mined without consistently using negative controls to assess the positive predictive value of a positive result.” This he obviously does not apply to himself, especially when the clinical result is already decided in advance. In his own research, Professor Raoult is no fan of randomised controlled clinical trials. A PubPeer user translated his interview:

“I have never done randomized trials (…). The effect of randomized stuff, maybe it works on people who had a myocardial infarction, but putting that in infectious diseases, it doesn’t make sense”

As Elisabeth Bik discussed, the paper was peer-reviewed in less than 24h, it probably helped that the journal’s Editor-in-Chief is both the paper’s coauthor and Raoult’s IHU subordinate Jean-Marc Rolain. Bik also listed other problems with that paper. Like this:

“In the EU Clinical Trial Register page, the study was described as evaluating PCR data on Day 1, Day 4, Day 7 and Day 14. However, the study show the data for Day 6, which is different than planned. Why did the authors not show the results on Day 7? Did the data on day 7 not look as good?”

Peer review apparently completed on the day of submission, revised version submitted the next morning.

In fact, the authors never showed the results of day 14 either. They also refused to share their secondary endpoint data, namely “the clinical effectiveness of treatment on time to apyrexia, normalization of respiratory rate, and average length of hospital stay and mortality”. Basically, it is none of anyone’s business to know if the therapy had any clinical benefit for the patients.

Noteworthy, the control patients were much younger than the treated ones. Which is convenient since COVID19 is generally not dangerous to younger persons. The average age of the control group was 37, that of hydroxychloroquine-treated group 53 years old. Also, as Bik noted:

“The [hydroxychloroquine] treated patients were all in Marseille, while the controls were located in Marseille or other centers.”

In February 2020, Raoult explained that COVID19 is statistically no more deadly than scooter accidents

Even then, additional tricks were apparently needed. Viral load in control patients was analysed by quantitative RT-PCR and a bit too liberally, as Bik explains:

“Of particular note, control patients 6 and 8-16 appear to have been analyzed differently. Their Day 0 PCR values are not given as CT values (the number of cycles after which a PCR becomes positive, the lower the number, the more virus is present) but as POS/NEG, suggesting a different test was used. […] Several patients in the control group did not even have a PCR result on Day 6, so it is not clear how they were counted in the Day 6 result.”

“Supplementary Table 1 (Table S1) from Gautret et al. Colored boxes added by Elisabeth Bik.”

Some control patients were tested only every second day, afterwards guessed to be positive, some were not tested at all on day 0, as a PubPeer commented noted. And then the authors simply changed the results in control patients between the “in press” and the final paper version, as another PubPeer uses observed:

In press, March 17
March 20. “It looks like all the ND (PCR not done) in the table were replaced by POS (patient not treated).

Another PubPeer user re-ran the analysis, because “an important number of non-treated patients were not tested by PCR (ND)“. Once the ND values were disregarded, there wasn’t any more significant difference between controls and chloroquine-treated patients.

Not only control group had to be adjusted: the treatment group somehow lost 6 patients, as Bik discussed:

“Although the study started with 26 patients in the HQ or HQ+AZ group, data from only 20 treated patients are given, because not all patients completed the 6-day study. The data for these 20 patients looks incredibly nice; especially the patients who were given both medications all recovered very fast.

What happened to the other six treated patients? Why did they drop out of the study? Three of them were transferred to the intensive care unit (presumably because they got sicker) and 1 died. The other two patients were either too nauseous and stopped the medication, or left the hospital […] So 4 of the 26 treated patients were actually not recovering at all.”

It seems, the authors simply removed inconvenient patients from the analysis before publishing their study. They left online their previous evaluation though, which showed a slightly different result, compare here the day 6 time point:

Fig 2 of the published paper/preprint
PowerPoint presentation on the institutional website

Statistical and ethical problems with that Gautret et al 2020 study were addressed extensively in this preprint by Dahly, Gates & Morris zenodo 2020. The authors also reject Raoult’s claims about previous positive results from China:

“In the background of their paper, Gautret et al referred to “an early clinical trial conducted in COVID-19 Chinese patients, [which] showed that chloroquine had a significant effect, both in terms of clinical outcome and viral clearance, when comparing to control groups”. There were two citations for this claim. The first was a letter7 that doesn’t report any trial data, but instead refers to a conference held in China in February, during which participants (“experts from government and regulatory authorities and organizers of clinical trials”) seemingly agreed that chloroquine was an efficacious treatment for COVID-19. The second cition (also included in the aforementioned letter) refers to a number of clinical trials registered in China, though many of these have now been suspended or closed, while the remaining trials are still recruiting (per their entries on http://www.chictr.org.cn as of March 21, 2020). Hence there are, to our knowledge, no other published reports of clinical trials testing the efficacy of chloroquine for COVID-19 treatment.”

You can buy professor Raoult’s book on COVID-19

However, now a proper randomised controlled clinical trial was done in China on chloroquine treatment of COVID19. The authors of Chen et al 2020 report:

“One patient in HCQ group developed to severe during the treatment. On day 7, COVID-19 nucleic acid of throat swabs was negative in 13 (86.7%) cases in the HCQ group and 14 (93.3%) cases in the control group (P>0.05). The median duration from hospitalization to virus nucleic acid negative conservation was 4 (1-9) days in HCQ group, which is comparable to that in the control group[2 (1-4) days, (U=83.5, P>0.05)]. The median time for body temperature normalization in HCQ group was 1 (0-2) after hospitalization, which was also comparable to that in the control group 1 (0-3). Radiological progression was shown on CT images in 5 cases (33.3%) of the HCQ group and 7 cases (46.7%) of the control group, and all patients showed improvement in follow-up examination. Four cases (26.7%) of the HCQ group and 3 cases (20%) of the control group had transient diarrhea and abnormal liver function (P>0.05)”

BUT WHAT IF RAOULT IS RIGHT AND IT WORKS?????

I hear you ask that. After all, Raoult is a star of French science: he publishes a scientific paper “nearly every work day”, thanks to 800 employees working under him, as a blog post mentioned, and he is so important that his Marseille collaborators named two bacteria species after the grand director: Raoultella planticola and Rickettsia raoultii.

Well, Elisabeth Bik found some very bad data fakery in a 15 year old Raoult-co-authored paper:

Florence Fenollar , Stéphane Sire , Nathalie Wilhelm , Didier Raoult Bartonella vinsonii subsp. arupensis as an agent of blood culture-negative endocarditis in a human Journal of Clinical Microbiology (2005)
doi: 10.1128/jcm.43.2.945-947.2005

The gels are most obviously fake, falsified in Photoshop. In at least one instance, a gel band was erased digitally. Here a younger Raoult-coauthored paper from URMITE Marseille, and it is not much better:

Miguel A. De La Cruz , Weidong Zhao , Carine Farenc , Grégory Gimenez , Didier Raoult , Christian Cambillau , Jean-Pierre Gorvel , Stéphane Méress A toxin-antitoxin module of Salmonella promotes virulence in mice PLoS Pathogens (2013) doi: 10.1371/journal.ppat.1003827

A gel lane was copied three times, while arrows indicate additional image manipulations in that gel figure. The last author Stéphane Méresse seems not to deny that the image was fabricated:

“This image should never have been published and we apologize for this mistake. Below two similar experiences leading to the same conclusion.”

Caught on fake data? Replace it with something else, conclusions not affected. As easy as removing patients from analysis or guessing PCR results. The research culture at URMITE produced also this beauty, again with Raoult as coauthor:

Aurélien Fotso Fotso , Oleg Mediannikov , Didier Raoult , Claude Nappez , Michel Drancourt , Michel Azza Monoclonal Antibodies for the Diagnosis of Borrelia crocidurae American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene (2016) doi: 10.4269/ajtmh.15-0436

That is truly a beautiful fake. Fractal bacteria, as someone commented on Twitter. Bik found also this, a 19 year old microscopy collage co-authored by Raoult:

S Meconi , C Capo , M Remacle-Bonnet , G Pommier , D Raoult , J L Meg Activation of protein tyrosine kinases by Coxiella burnetii: role in actin cytoskeleton reorganization and bacterial phagocytosis Infection and Immunity (2001) doi: 10.1128/iai.69.4.2520-2526.2001

The arrows indicate that the cells were digitally pasted in. To catch Raoult on having published fabricated data is not really a surprise, as it turned out.

More recently, Raoult’s lab simply slightly darkened an image of a 2D western blot and re-used it again, for a different bacteria. Nobody complained.

“Red boxes: Panels B (R. conorii IFA-negative serum on R. conorii-resolved 2D proteome) and E (R. africae IFA-negative serum on R. africae-resolved 2D proteome ) appear to look similar.”

M Kowalczewska, A N’Djatchi , C Nappez , S Alwassouf, P Decloquement, N Armstrong, K El Karkouri, S Edouard, D Raoult Identification of rickettsial immunoreactive proteins using a proximity ligation assay Western blotting and the traditional immunoproteomic approach Comparative Immunology Microbiology and Infectious Diseases (2018) doi: 10.1016/j.cimid.2018.06.004

Other PubPeer users joined Bik on the treasure hunt and found another duplicated gel, again slightly darkened:

S Edouard , G Subramanian , B Lefevre , A Dos Santos , P Pouedras , Y Poinsignon , O Mediannikov , D Raoult Co-infection with Arsenophonus nasoniae and Orientia tsutsugamushi in a traveler Vector-Borne and Zoonotic Diseases (2013) doi: 10.1089/vbz.2012.1083

In 2012, Science magazine brought an article about Raoult’s scientific achievements, where hidden among all the celebration were descriptions of his bullying and lack of basic research integrity. Some quotes:

“Yet Raoult is also known for his enmities and his disdain for those who disagree with him. “People don’t like to talk about him because he has a lot of influence. He can make life hard for you,” says one of several French researchers contacted by Science who would only talk about Raoult if they could remain anonymous. “Few of his science colleagues will find the thought of another profile story about him particularly appealing,” geneticist Jean-Michel Claverie of Aix-Marseille University—who severed ties with Raoult in 2006 after a 5-year collaboration—wrote in an e-mail to Science“.

and then:

“But some scientists grumble that manuscripts out of Raoult’s lab often contain errors, for instance, as a result of unchecked genetic sequences.

Indeed, problems in a paper about a mouse model for typhus got his lab in hot water in 2006. A reviewer for Infection and Immunity, a journal published by the American Society for Microbiology (ASM), discovered that four figures in a revised manuscript were identical to figures in the original manuscript, even though they were supposed to describe a different experiment.

In letters to ASM, made available by Raoult, second author Christian Capo and last author Jean-Louis Mège, a group leader, accepted “full responsibility” for the problem, which they said involved only two figures. Capo, in his letter, wrote that he had made an innocent mistake; Mège wrote that Capo had subsequently failed to show the revised manuscript to other authors, who were on vacation, before resubmitting it. But after consulting its ethics panel, ASM banned all five authors, including Raoult, from publishing in its journals for a year. “We are not entirely comfortable with the explanation provided,” ASM officials wrote to Mège. “Misrepresentation of data … is an affront to the ethical conduct of scientific inquiry.”

Capo and Mège accepted the decision, but Raoult wrote ASM that he wasn’t at fault and that the “collective punishment” was “very unfair.” He appealed the ban, also on behalf of two other co-authors, but lost. Furious, he resigned from the editorial board of two other ASM journals, canceled his membership in the American Academy of Microbiology, ASM’s honorific leadership group, and banned his lab from submitting to ASM journals, in which he had published more than 230 studies. His name has been on only two ASM journal papers since, both published in 2010. To clear his name, Raoult sent his ASM correspondence to French colleagues in 2007, along with a letter defending himself. “If I had been in the United States, I would have sued,” he wrote.”

Raoult did not like Science coverage of his genius. He made the journal publish an Erratum, where he even wrongly accused the author of shilling for Danone:

“IT WAS AN HONOR TO HAVE MY PROFILE PUBlished in Science (“Sound and fury in the microbiology lab,” C. Mary, News Focus, 2 March, p. 1033). However, I was surprised that 20% of the article is devoted to the American Society for Microbiology (ASM) story, in which I was a collateral victim of a collective sanction (there has been no collective liability in France since World War II). I did not manage the paper and did not even check the last version. The mistake by C. Capo consists of a single figure inversion (not four, as stated in the Science profile). This paper has since been published (1). In January 2007, I was awarded one of the highest ASM honors—the ICAAC lecture—thus clearing doubts about my scientific integrity.”

Accusing your critics of being Nazis or Nazi collaborateurs is standard practice in French academia, especially when you are called out on data manipulation. But you probably started to get a gist that Raoult is not a nice man and not prepared to be criticised or disagreed with. He has a way to make his subordinates deliver the results he likes:

Now, the extra bit of irony is that Raoult is so full of himself that he published in 2018 an opinion piece to teach France some… research integrity. The occasion was the Catherine Jessus affair which I myself incidentally have caused.

Il pleut de la merde

In 2017, Raoult’s leadership was challenged by a sexual harassment and assault scandal at his URMITE institute, an affair with at least six victims which the director himself described as “a love story gone wrong“. The perpetrator was eventually sacked, but Raoult did not handle the case exemplary, quite the opposite. This article in MarsActu narrates that Raoult tried to hush up the affair for two years while even trying to have the victim sacked:

“For CGT union which made public the sanction at a press conference on Monday, these behaviours are not the result of misconduct of a single person but fall under a system set up around the personality of Director URMITE, Didier Raoult. “I am appalled by the fact that the director of the URMITE could not report acts of harassment to his superiors and his guardianship for two years” . […] “The alleged victims and the person they have named as their attacker were installed in adjacent laboratories within the new premises of the IHU” […] “threats (…) currently uttered by Mr. Raoult against Mrs. A, “ . “We have just been informed that Mr. Raoult intends to fire Mrs. A from URMITE. This is unacceptable “ .

Allegedly Raoult also threatened the other victim, a foreign graduate student, warning her that she will not be allowed to complete her thesis if she blows the whistle. Raoult rejected all accusations against himself and denied responsibility. In reality, the gigantic institute is run as his own private fiefdom, as a 2015 evaluation report criticised (discussed in this blog post). Harassment and abuse of students and employees used to be apparently normal under Raoult iron rule, as a 2017 union report criticised:

“Several students or former students testified to work hours without limits, aggravated work stress, work at night or on weekends. They seem to have an enormous pressure for results. Their presence on publications appears to be based on the needs of those responsible. A visit of the CHSCT helped to highlight the fact that, hitherto, lab coats were not provided to them, so they had to get one on their own and had to wash it outside, despite handling of pathogens in the laboratory. […]

We know of many transfer requests, made by the ITA, but also researchers, INSERM, CNRS and Aix-Marseille University. This seems not to have alerted the leadership on the situation of employees in the unit.
The head of the graduate school had to manage a significant number of students from reallocations of URMITE to other units, during or at the end of their thesis.”

Employees wrote in 2017 a protest letter denouncing Raoult’s dictatorship. A quote:

“Some of us are frequently belittled, mocked, humiliated, subjected to chauvinist remarks, inappropriate attitudes, violent verbal altercations, even threats from the hierarchy. One research engineer was threatened with professional death…”

The institute reacted by writing a letter to the Minister for Research announcing to punish the whistleblowers (see this blog post), whom Raoult described as “five or six grumpy jealous” and “bitter people“. This is revealing about how URMITE is run:

“A former research engineer URMITE explains that Didier Raoult works “with a table in his head” . “A cross-tabulation with two columns. He regards you more or less, depending on your status, doctor, pharmacist, researcher, engineer .. . And more or less depending on whether you are a man or a woman , he says. We had group meetings on Friday and I have often seen women from crying. “

Raoult demands results from his serfs, unconditionally:

“These tensions in the work are also felt by some doctoral students who describe situations of harassment. “Our research director, close to Didier Raoult, was struggling to handle the pressure that he put on him to get results, says one of them. Suddenly, a pyramid, the pressure fell on us.” He remembers meetings on “work in progress” where students whose work did not convince were humiliated by the research directors, with Raoult at the top.”

In March 2018, in the aftermath of the sexual abuse scandal which he tried to hush up while threatening the victims, Raoult announced:

I thank you for having described this place as a brothel. I installed a condom machine “

Later in 2018, Raoult published an opinion piece in Le Point, where he used his authority as medical doctor and expert on sexually transmitted diseases to certify that the alleged victims of sexual harassment should not to be believed, not even by the police. In March 2020, Raoult brought back the sacked sex offender and arranged for him a job at an IHU Mediterranean spin-off. The unions wrote a protest letter, as Marsactu reported on 1 May 2020.

“Il pleut de la merde”: student performance from March 2018

Now consider this. Raoult’s past papers show falsified data, which even resulted in his ban by ASM for one year, to which Raoult responded with threats of lawsuit. He is a patriarchal control freak and a misogynous bully who violently punishes all disagreement and uses threats against whistleblowers and victims to achieve compliance. He is pathologically resistant to criticism and believes to be infallible and omniscient: Raoult denied anthropogenic climate change in 2013 and before that, the microbiologist even denied evolution in his 2011 book “Beyond Darwin“. Raoult’s new study on chloroquine as the cure for COVID19 is obviously flawed, at best.

Should we really trust his claims and put our all lives in his hands?

The article was significantly updated since it first appeared.


Update 7.04.2020

On 4 April, after being alerted by my readers on Twitter and in the comment section, I tweeted about a statement by the International Society for Microbial Chemotherapy (ISAC), which issues the Journal of Antimicrobial Agents (IJAA). That was now picked up by international media an credited to Retraction Watch. The statement, signed by the society’s president Andreas Voss, was published on 3 April:

“ISAC shares the concerns regarding the above article published recently in the International Journal of Antimicrobial Agents (IJAA). The ISAC Board believes the article does not meet the Society’s expected standard, especially relating to the lack of better explanations of the inclusion criteria and the triage of patients to ensure patient safety.

Despite some suggestions online as to the reliability of the article’s peer review process, the process did adhere to the industry’s peer review rules. Given his role as Editor in Chief of this journal, Jean-Marc Rolain had no involvement in the peer review of the manuscript and has no access to information regarding its peer review. Full responsibility for the manuscript’s peer review process was delegated to an Associate Editor.

Although ISAC recognises it is important to help the scientific community by publishing new data fast, this cannot be at the cost of reducing scientific scrutiny and best practices. Both Editors in Chief of our journals (IJAA and Journal of Global Antimicrobial Resistance) are in full agreement.”

I contacted Voss and asked him if the paper will be retracted. Voss replied:

ISAC is not the publisher. That is Elsevier and as according to them all rules and industry standards were followed a retraction is not what they consider.

Voss then added:

we own the title of JGAR but not of IJAA. Still, IJAA is an “official society journal” and as such we feel the responsibility, which is why we expressed our concerns.

So it seems Elsevier put their foot down and said no.

Raoult’s institute on why evidence-based medicine is wrong

Update 10.04.2020

ISAC now replaced and backdated the statement. As I was told by Voss, this happened on orders from Elsevier, who apparently decided ISAC scientists are not qualified to form an opinion about clinical research. The original ISAC statement from 3 April is deleted and replaced with a joint statement of ISAC together with Elsevier. The critical first paragraph is gone, but this is added:

“At present, additional independent peer review is ongoing to ascertain whether concerns about the research content of the paper have merit. Given this process of post-publication assessment is on-going, it would be premature to comment at this time. The study authors have been contacted and asked to address the concerns. Depending on the nature of their response, a correction to the scientific record may be considered in accordance with the policies of Elsevier and the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE): https://www.elsevier.com/editors/perk/corrections-to-the-record.”

Update 12.04.2020

Now both statements are online: the one from 3 April by ISAC, restored uncensored, and the joint statement from 11 April with Elsevier, as separate release. Thanks ISAC.

Read also the follow-up reporting here.

Update 20.05.2020

Raoult was possibly made to resign his job, he is cited to China already this summer. Incidentally, by leaving France and Europe, he would escape any eventual criminal charges for illegal human experimentation.

The French newspaper Entreprendre cited his letter to Robert Lafont, the CEO of this publishing house. The online article was swiftly deleted, but here is a backup. Newspapers were quick to denounce the report as fake news and a prank, Lafort himself played stupid, but I personally am not so sure (although it is likely Raoult was never offered a job in Peking). This was Raoult’s letter, translated:

Since you have been one of the rare journalists to have exhibited exemplary behaviour during this period, I would like to take this opportunity to reserve for you the first news: my upcoming departure for China (by the end of the summer). I was indeed recruited as Professor by the Peking University (PUHSC), the most renowned medical school in the country, which happens to be very advanced in the field of virology. It became very complicated to undertake research projects in the health sector in France, the sector being plagued by partisan quarrels, sprawling bureaucracy and political correctness. “


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254 comments on “Chloroquine genius Didier Raoult to save the world from COVID-19

  1. Leonid: Be ready for pushback from Trump supporters who seem to overreact to any suggestion that our Dear Leader may have made a mistake.

    Although it may turn out that these treatments have merit, people don’t seem to understand the real risk that chasing after solutions that have not been thoroughly vetted may cause harm – both to patients suffering from COVID-19 and to people who depend on these medications for treatment who now face potential shortages in the stampede to acquire these drugs.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Declini: uno incerto e uno certo - Ocasapiens - Blog - Repubblica.it

  3. Desperate times call for desperate measures. Given what we are facing today, waiting for results of a randomized double-blinded trial might be as unethical as not treating patients who would otherwise definitely die. New treatment is always risky.

    By the way: with hydroxychloroquine the risk is truly minimal, because side effects from this medication are relatively minor and easily discoverable (https://www.rxlist.com/plaquenil-side-effects-drug-center.htm#overview). Many if not all are due to chronic use.

    Also, we all should understand that without risk commonly used treatment methods and approaches, such as anesthesia, vaccination, transplantation and many others would never be developed. Surely, when there is plenty of time and nobody is dying all measures to avoid risk should be taken. With COVID-19 we just do not have such a luxury.

    Last, but not least: hydroxychloroquine was FDA approved for malaria, lupus and rheumatoid arthritis (https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/cder/daf/index.cfm?event=overview.process&varApplNo=009768),
    and was recently approved for “compassionate use” in COVID-19 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GKBydiPOcQc).

    Liked by 1 person

    • Charles Game

      Ok sure. But why choose this medication and not any other combination of thousands? Something should have suggested it to you! But, with your defense of this choice you’ve created a sphere where anything can be tried! It’s unethical to not try it, as lives are on the line. You’ve created an atmosphere where quietly whispering magic spells into an ear should be tried, as should any other myth. You either have evidence something may work, or you are blindly guessing. If you are gonna push this as a cure, something to be tried on thousands, perhaps ignoring therapies that might actually work, you better be right.

      Like

      • This medication is not the only one which is used and tested. At least 10 different anti-viral drugs are used, as far as I know. All of them are used experimentally. For instance, anti-HIV drug is used. It was successful against HIV, now it is used against COVID-19. The same anti-SARS drug, cannot find the name now, etc. etc.

        Also, newly manufactured vaccine is tested. Etc.

        THIS medication is selected for attack in the media, and it is attacked because Trump is promoting it. There is no other reason.

        Liked by 1 person

      • The evidence that people use is the data collected by Chinese during last several month. There is no wild guessing there – just published results. And yes, experience is limited, but nothing is used at random. Again, data is limited, some are true, some are not. Presently we don’t know which is which, but still the use of any medication is based on existing evidence, not on blind guess.

        Like

      • Jonathan Michael Maione

        Other science supports HCQ.. are you suggesting HCQ is simply a random choice of treatment here? It’s been shown to increase intracellular PH, decreasing RNA virus ability to replicate. Also, glycosylation of the AT2 receptor which has been shown to be COVID binding site. It’s also a zinc ionophore, allowing greats Zn uptake into the cells where it can also work to inhibit RNA polymerase …
        not such a random grasp

        Liked by 1 person

      • Professor Raoult is a world-renowned specialist of infectious diseases, and this article is surely written with the goal of discrediting him. Yes, Big Pharma hates him and likely paid for this article. Chloroquine is a cheap drug that is effective in most Coronavirus patients, when administered early and properly. Professor Raoult is hated by Big Pharma because he challenges the usefulness of some vaccines. This pseudo-scientific, politically-motivated article is nothing but slander. It wants us to die while Big Pharma comes up with an expensive vaccine in a year, so they can get richer, and even implant us with a microchip in the mean time. No alternative solution offered, just criticizing a world-renowned specialist throughout. How much did Big Pharma pay you?

        Liked by 1 person

      • Augie, pull your head out of your arse you deranged antivaxxer.
        Professor Raoult receives millions from Big Pharma, it is all over his institute’s website. His key sponsor is Sanofi, which just happens to sell chloroquine, including for the Discovery clinical trials starting now.
        How much Raoult receives into his own pocket, as a very likely Sanofi consultant, advisor or invited speaker, is to be figured out.
        As for who paid for this article: I will tell you the truth. I am on the payroll of the Elders of Zion.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Usually, naming someone “antivaxxer” raises a red flag.

        You claim to be an “independent science journalist”. Please show us your independence by writing a paper about William Thompson’s revenaltions about the MMR/autism study published in pediatrics, about Verstraeten’s cohort study showing an increased risk of autism after the HepB shot given in the first month of life (unadj. risk of 7.6, jumping to 11 after adjustments), the result has been confirmed in a published case-control (J Toxicol Environ Health A. 2010;73(24):1665-77. Hepatitis B vaccination of male neonates and autism diagnosis, NHIS 1997-2002.), please investigate also the link between the hepatitis B vaccine and Multiple Sclerosis, as some studies seem to be fake with inconsistent datas between those provided in some texts and the associated tables.

        “for better science” as you said.

        Like

      • I leave your idiotic comment online so others see who supports Raoult: antivaxxers, alt-right and climate change denialists. Do not try commenting here again.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Augie, the study that claimed that Hydroxychloroquine administered early was effective in patients was suspended due to ethical violations.

        Like

      • dreamer, National Multiple Sclerosis Society: “In 2002, the National Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Medicine (IOM) determined that there is no association between hepatitis B vaccination and the onset of MS. A 2017 systematic review of vaccine safety in MS concluded that the hepatitis B vaccine does not increase a person’s risk of developing MS.”

        Like

    • Putting aside the design pitfalls, major concerns arise on missing data, as well as on the unethical conduct history of the authors. Besides, results seem inconsistent with those found by this study DOI: 10.3785/j.issn.1008-9292.2020.03.03, in which, by the way, treatments were randomized and had a larger sample size. Despite all these, they may be right, and we cannot simply dismiss their findings. Bref, more research on the field is needed as soon as possible.

      Like

      • Karl Friedrich

        Yes we can simply dismiss their findings as they have lost all credibility.

        Like

    • Fernando Gomez

      I just wonder what has been Mr. Schneider biggest scientific accomplishment. It seems to me that Mr Schneider rather be a gossip/critic than a research scientist. The easy way out. What better way to destroy the credibility of an individual than to attack him/her personally. A typical leftist approach. Had not Mr Trump mentioned the possibility of success in defeating Corona Virus, many, many of us might not have heard of France’s most productive microbiologist work.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Many of us might not have heard ? That is absurd .
        The medical community was aware . The Chinese & Indians experimented with HCQ before you read about it in a tweet . In my country , 2 Italian tourists were cured with Chloroquine + oseltamivir, long before your President tweeted about it. They also used broad spectrum Anti-virals. One italian tourist also died of cardiac arrest .
        And that’s the point ! Which drug to use will have to be decided by the Doctors on the ground based on a case by case basis . And not by medically illiterate ideologues on Fox news or twitter

        Like

      • “What better way to destroy the credibility of an individual than to attack him/her personally. A typical leftist approach.”
        Not sure about that. It is a tactic straight out of Trump’s playbook.

        Liked by 1 person

      • John Stevenson

        Nice to see you figured out how to make an account, Didier

        Liked by 1 person

    • Sanofi is absolutely not buddies with Raoult. Please stop de slander Leonid.

      Like

    • Thierry CAUSSE

      donc en résumé on soigne suivant son instinct ? Il y a moins de morts en Islande et en nll Zélande qu’à l’ihu de Marseille, sans potion magique, alors que celui ci ne compte les morts trop rapides….

      Like

  4. Baguette

    Hi Leonid. Thanks for your work to show us the truth about Pr Raoult. I’m very interested by your analyse about the falsified data in “Raoult” papers. I don’t know how it works in your country but, in France, the real authors of the papers are the first and the second authors. The others have just participated to the paper (technicians, reviewers or grants seekers). In France, the grants seekers are the professors, like Didier Raoult and this professor have really no time to analyse all the papers. So, i think it’s really not an argument.

    Liked by 1 person

    • In science, every author is responsible. Primarily the corresponding author, and then it goes after who made or supervised which figure.

      Liked by 3 people

      • Baguette

        I have a pragmatic vision of science, not an idealized vision. It is how it works now in French lab, not how it should works 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • Mr Schneider,
        I reply to you here because I don’t see any reply option to the previous post.

        Without entering the main discussion about the effectiveness of the drug or the behaviour of the Prof, I simply observe that you behave exactly like him.
        You dismiss the intervention of someone who does not agree with you by insulting them.

        You’re write rageously <Augie, pull your head out of your arse you deranged antivaxxer> instead of discussing as a serious, , objective journalist. For me already a reason not to believe in your statements and looking for another more serious source of information.

        Thanks

        Liked by 1 person

      • I am sorry, do you also wish to discuss the dangers of vaccination? There are indeed alternative, “more serious” sources and forums for you to engage with.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Schinia Honesta

      Dear Baguette,

      I also have to disagree with your view about the real authors and the other authors (are they then unreal authors?). As LS pointed out, all authors are, or should be, responsible. I do not believe this is something that should be adapted to the local habits (if these were indeed as widespread as you seem to believe).

      I have also worked in France and what you describe does not apply to the French research institutes I know. There are a number of places where people actually abides to the international rules and only co-sign an article when they satisfy the authorship criteria. At least in all institutes I joined, this was the case and the director was not automatically an author of all publications produced by the institute, that would not make any sense. In fact, I just checked and, in my case, the director was never the most prolific author of the institute. I believe it is not fair that some researchers do not respect the rules for their own benefit while others do.

      It’s true that Prof. Raoult is not the only one playing that dangerous game (neither in France nor internationally) but he has certainly been very successful in doing it. See for instance this publication about influential researchers in 2013 (https://doi.org/10.1111/eci.12171, in particular Table 1). Prof. Raoult was the second most prolific author in biomedical science with 1,252 publications between 1996 and 2011, corresponding to 1.5 publications every week. As highlighted by Olivier Berruyer in his blog post (linked by LS), his scientific output is now even more important (from 2012 on, he managed to publish more than 3 publications per week).

      It seems implausible that he can qualify as an author for that many publications, yet he is competing with other researchers who play it by the book. In my opinion, he can not have it both ways, having the extra publication to boost his profile (or ego?) without sharing any responsibility with respect to the content. So I believe this is an argument that is valid in today’s discussion.

      Liked by 3 people

      • Schinia > I can tell you that in some fields /labs directors do add their name to papers. I did observed different behavior between Mathematics Labs and Computer science labs. I also have a friend (in this fields) who published a paper whose one of the author is not responsible for any work, but not doing so would be an awful political move and would definitively have impacted his career negatively.
        On the other side, one of my friend who got his phd in “number theory” doesn’t have its phd supervisor name on its publications, despite he did received some helps from him (which is natural when you have a good supervisor).
        In France we do have this nothing of “first author”.

        I have head from some friends from Chemistry and Health that this two field are just a terrible jungle and that a lot of things happening behind the scene is unfair and unethical. Falsified data and co-author who didn’t wrote a line is not that uncommon.

        Like

  5. I worked there and I can testify:

    As already mentioned, the work environment at the URMIT (the institute of Prof. Raoult) is absolutely toxic. Or at least it was when I worked there, but I don’t have any reason to think that it has changed.

    All research groups were working in competition against each other, hating each other, cheating. I cannot tell you how common the cheating in the institute was, but it surely was common in the lab where I did my master thesis. An example: “If they ask you where the error bars are, just tell them they are so small we can’t see them”.

    I myself had little to do with Prof. Raoult since my master thesis supervisor (officially responding to Prof. Raoult) was hiding his research from him.

    My supervisor told me several times:

    “Prof. Raoult will probably never ask you what you’re doing here. But in the off chance that he does, tell him that you’re studying the phagolysosome of Coxiella burnetii.”

    This was an obvious lie. I was working on something completely different, but he did not want Prof. Raoult to know. So, I had to remember this lie during my entire Master thesis. In any other institute this would be shocking, but these kind of practices were common at the URMIT.

    I did attend some of the “WIP” (work in progress) meetings although this was meant for PhD students. I can assure you that all PhD students showing their results in front of him were terrified. I remember especially one time he completely destroyed one student 1 minute into her talk because she had quoted a paper that was too old. This seems completely arbitrary, but if there was another reason for him screaming at her, no one in the room understood it. This day, the whole institute was talking about this event and about how crazy our director was.

    This aside, the URMIT is clearly a machine, created to publish as much as possible to increase the H-index and expertscape ranking of Prof. Raoult.
    Everyone digging a little bit can see that all groups are publish in their friend’s journals, bypassing peer-reviews. This is common knowledge for everyone working in this institute, or even everyone doing science in Marseille.

    Liked by 3 people

      • Abdullah Salih

        Shame on the writer of this article! A top scientist with more than 2000 papers, more than 150,000 citations, and several awards, yet you can’t find anything positive to say about him!

        Again, big shame on you!

        Like

  6. We have a manipulated article by a researcher with a highly questionable track record showig effect of chloroquine + a Chinese study showing that it is not better than placebo + a cult around Trump screaming in desperation that it works, because they will fill the churces for Easter and want their stock shares to rise.

    It’s a no-brainer.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. Smut Clyde

    “Few of his science colleagues will fi nd the thought of another profile story about him particularly appealing,” geneticist Jean-Michel Claverie of Aix-Marseille University—who severed ties with Raoult in 2006 after a 5-year collaboration

    Claverie and Raoult co-authored the 2003 paper announcing the discovery of Mimivirus. Since then, Claverie discovered Megavirus and Pandoravirus, and there seems to be an unwritten law that no giant-sized viri can be discovered without his involvement somewhere, while Raoult has been promoting himself as the world expert on giant-sized viri.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Great article.

    Outside of the personalities involved in this particular study there are previous studies into chloroquine/hydroxychloroquine. Is it a Zinc ionophore – those claims do have scientific efficacy.

    There will not be enough beds, oxygen or respirators to treat everyone who falls seriously ill with covid 19. Clinicians will be deciding who lives or dies, normal standards of care simply can’t be maintained.

    In that reality then I think it’s ethical that every patient should be able to request the hydroxychloroquine/zpac combo or any other drug that could possibly improve their condition in a clinical setting.

    Like

    • You mean cell culture studies?

      Liked by 1 person

    • “In that reality then I think it’s ethical that every patient should be able to request the hydroxychloroquine/zpac combo or any other drug that could possibly improve their condition in a clinical setting.”
      Wow. just wow. That is one of the stupidest things I have ever read.
      Unless you mean they should have the right to request it, because you believe in freedom of speech, but equally doctors should have the right to refuse it because it’s a stupid request. then, well, it’s still stupid because you’re saying that people should be wasting doctors’ time because they read a Trump tweet or some other nonsense.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Dr. Dena Grayson

      @DrDenaGrayson
      🛑Hydroxychloroquine (plaquenil) can prolong the QT interval (heart rhythm) and can cause a FATAL arrhythmia. Azithromycin can also prolong the QT interval, so use of these 2 drugs together should ONLY be done under the supervision of a doctor.

      I have a question: Dr. Dena, would she prescribe topical steroids to her patients, knowing that topical steroids cause more adverse reactions than any other existing medications. Here is the partial list:
      Common side effects reported with topical steroids include:
      Easy bruising and tearing of the skin.
      Enlarged blood vessels (telangiectasia)
      Folliculitis (inflammation of the hair follicles) and miliaria (sweat rash): ointments.
      Increased hair thickness and length in the area of application (hypertrichosis)
      Skin thinning.

      Besides:
      My own mother carried this https://www.pharmaceutical-journal.com/news-and-analysis/diuretic-reduces-skin-atrophy-associated-with-corticosteroid-creams/20068200.article?firstPass=false wound from her age of 32 until her death at the age of 81. I am diabetic because of the same side effects caused by topical steroids.

      Where:

      The side effects caused by hydroxychloroquine are minimal. She and other pandits for their only known reason are playing the crooked psychological tricks with the public by a simple psychological game of feer. By taking only one part out of the context of the description of adverse reaction cased by hydroxychloroquine.

      The truth of the meter is:

      Mechanism of action described by UPS reads as: Hydroxychloroquine increases lysosomal pH in antigen-presenting cells. In inflammatory conditions, it blocks toll-like receptors on plasmacytoid dendritic cells (PDCs). Toll-like receptor 9 (TLR 9), which recognizes DNA-containing immune complexes, leads to the production of interferon and causes the dendritic cells to mature and present antigen to T cells. Hydroxychloroquine, by decreasing TLR signaling, reduces the activation of dendritic cells and the inflammatory process. In 2003, a novel mechanism was described wherein hydroxychloroquine inhibits stimulation of the toll-like receptor (TLR) 9 family receptors.

      The short terms side effects of hydroxychloroquine in comparison with other dangerous drugs are minimal, Again from the UPS:

      The most common adverse effects are mild nausea and occasional stomach cramps with mild diarrhea. The most serious adverse effects affect the eye, with dose-related retinopathy as a concern even after hydroxychloroquine use is discontinued.

      The only problem would be if the medication is used for other treatments rather than malaria and viral diseases such as rheumatic arthritis, lupus and so on, that is because of prolonged usage and they are again as described by same sours:

      For the prolonged treatment of lupus or rheumatoid arthritis, adverse effects include the acute symptoms, plus altered eye pigmentation, acne, anemia, bleaching of hair, blisters in mouth and eyes, blood disorders, convulsions, vision difficulties, diminished reflexes, emotional changes, the excessive coloring of the skin, hearing loss, hives, itching, liver problems or liver failure, loss of hair, muscle paralysis, weakness or atrophy, nightmares, psoriasis, reading difficulties, tinnitus, skin inflammation and scaling, skin rash, vertigo, weight loss, and occasionally urinary incontinence. Hydroxychloroquine can worsen existing cases of both psoriasis and porphyria.

      Many in the field of medical professions today are asking themself why this profession is not trustworthy anymore.

      Don’t ask me, my own experience taught me а lesson, not to trust them. Yes if I am in the acute stage caused by the COVID 19, my physician would proscribe me hydroxychloroquine even if I need to fight to get it.

      Like

  9. Massimiliano Amirfeiz

    It is worth also to point out that in the group of 14 patients treated with only Plaquenil (HDC), 2 were asynptomatic, resulted positive the Day 0, and then on always negative. As possible false positive cases or at least anomalous cases, it would have been better not to include in the result analysis.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. when Louis Pasteur tried the rabies treatment on the little shepherd, he too was following a very random protocol …

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Adam Mada

    just cant beleive all the the false information and desinformation in this article…you should be ashame!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I am not comfortable with 2 points of your article.
    1. The phrase “a lawyer with whom Rault partnered with…” is not true. In the Wired article, it is just written “Todaro and Rigano together started talking to Raoult about the small study he was then preparing,…” then nothing else. Guit by association argument.
    2. The sexual harassment story and other arguments against the person of Raoult: argumentum ad hominem. “A makes a claim a, B asserts that A holds a property that is unwelcome, and hence B concludes that argument a is wrong”.
    Very disappointing from a guy who claims “for better science”. You could have just criticized Raoult’s study, and yes it is true that his trial does not prove anything yet about the “miracle” cure, and everybody should be cautious about it.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Maybe it was no clear what the last section of my article meant to convey.
      Raoult was guilty of covering up the sexual abuse by his subordinate group leader for 2 years. His only actions were to threaten and blackmail the victims, even to attempt sacking them. He even made fun of the victims (announcing a condom vending machine) after the sexual predator was sacked and Raoult’s cover-up activities were exposed by the unions and journalists. It fits to the overall pattern of Raoult being a bullying sadistic misogynous tyrant who created over many years an oppressive atmosphere of fear and deference at his institute of 800 employees. Every single case of such lab leadership worldwide resulted in massive research fraud, simply because group leaders, students and postdocs are afraid to contradict or to displease the boss.
      Hence it is important to know in which scientific work environment the chloroquine results were obtained.

      Liked by 4 people

    • In fact, Didier Raoult is a consulting scientist with Torado’s Open-data repository on hydroxychloroquine (and azithromycin) initiative, as shown by this website that was created to advertize it: https://www.covidtrial.io/. Of course, it might be that Torado proclaimed Raoult to be on his consultancy team without asking him, as he seems prone to involve people in his “research” without letting them know about it. But, I haven’t seen Raoult protesting over this and I doubt he doesn’t know about it, because Torado is the reason why Trump became so enthusiastic about this potential treatment and Raoult has been making reference to this: https://www.marianne.net/politique/de-marseille-fox-news-comment-les-essais-de-didier-raoult-sur-la-chloroquine-ont-convaincu.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Hervé Seitz

    Thanks Leonid for this useful piece of work – as always!
    I have also published a statement yesterday about that fraud affair (and its extra-scientific consequences). It’s a Youtube video, I’m sorry it’s all in French (basically, I am simply exposing the paper’s fraud to the general public, using simple terms and accessible concepts):

    Best,

    Hervé

    Like

  14. Hello!

    I just discovered your blog article through a Twitter friend (@Damkyan_Omega) and I find it really well written and hinsightful, especially as it lays out clearly all this going wrong with Raoult’s study and his overall research practices.

    For this reason, I was wondering if you would allow me to translate it in French and re-publish it on my blog (https://www.ariane-beldi.ch), of course, with reference to this article, your blog and your CV (as I want to give back to Ceasar what’s Caesar’s). Many French-speaking people in Europe don’t have a sufficient command of English to be able to read your article and I believe it would be very useful to give people a better picture of what is going on at the scientific level in this affair.

    I don’t believe this article could convince Raoult’s unconditional partisans ready to beatifying him, but it might reach the bystanders watching the online shouting match going on between Raoult’s crowds and those criticizing him, some of them actually going overboard too. I also have some friends and contacts who are journalists within national Swiss media (especially the Swiss Television) who are really trying to make sense of this, but feel kind of embarrassed, because they don’t have the right tools to understand what is going on, at least, as far as science is concerned.

    Of course, I will relay this English version as well and recommend your blog, which is really a great place to turn to for a better understanding of science at work.

    What do you think?

    Liked by 1 person

  15. RdLasius

    I’m worried about your stance about Raoult being anti-evolutionnist… His book “Dépasser Darwin” (Beyond Darwin) never “denies evolution” as you said but rather is a vulgarisation essay. He mainly talks about horizontal transfer which may differ from the non-specialist knowledge but is not in any case a refutation of evolution. At best a refutation of darwinian theory which is the current scientific consensus? (cf. Synthetic theory of evolution)

    I apologize for my English, I did my best 😦

    Like

    • This from Science 2012 article:

      “And then there is his popular science book Dépasser Darwin (Beyond Darwin). “Darwin was a priest,” Raoult says, claiming that the image of the tree of life that Darwin proposed is inspired from the Bible. “It also is too simplistic.” Raoult questions several other tenets of modern evolutionary theory, including the importance of natural selection. He says recent discoveries in genetics show how frequently genes are exchanged not just between different microbial species but also between microbes and complex organisms, for instance, in the human gut. That means de novo creation of entirely new species is pos-sible, Raoult argues, and Darwin’s branching tree of life should be replaced by a network of interconnected species”

      Indeed, Raoult only denies the “established” evolution theory, because as with everything he knows it better than everyone else. Let’s teach Raoultian Evolution instead in French schools?

      Like

      • And if it was you?

        And if you had covi19 Leonid or someone you love? What would you do? I bet I you’d beg for your HCQ, like everyone, and secretly thank Raoult for pushing this thing forward. I also bet you will claim you would not.

        Overall, I am a bit confused about the usefulness of this ‘thing’ you probably call a blog entry. HCQ trials are going ahead, massive, so we will know in about 10 days. If Raoult was wrong, you can destroy him then. If Raoult is right what is the point really? Are you afraid he gets a Nobel, because the failed scientist in you hates the guts of successful ones? Well, if it works, he will indeed get a Nobel, a well deserved one, for pushing against the self-righteous that believe you are leading. I will applaud.

        If he is wrong, I do not see much harm done, but history will judge, and you can be part of the trials, where you will get a chance to quench your appetite for blood and other bodily substances.

        Liked by 1 person

      • First of all: this comment was posted from same Spanish IP address as all of “Athanaore porphryrogenete” comments.
        Now, about this: “history will judge, and you can be part of the trials, where you will get a chance to quench your appetite for blood and other bodily substances.
        Get your facts right. It was because of Raoult’s approval that a group leader was free to harass his female subordinates with demands like “it’s 4 PM, who wants to suck my cock?”
        Otherwise I am slowly bored by dumb Spaniards worshipping an ageing academic fraudster. Remember Carlos Lopez-Otin?
        And to answer you question: I would sure not take chloroquine against COVID19, it would namely DECREASE my chances to survive. Now you go back to lapping up Raoult’s bodily substances.

        Like

      • Athanaore porphryrogenete

        First of all: this comment was posted from same Spanish IP address as all of “Athanaore porphryrogenete”
        comments.

        Otherwise I am slowly bored by dumb Spaniards worshipping an aging academic fraudster.
        Remember Carlos Lopez-Otin?

        Prejudice and intimidation, all in one mail…

        Like

      • Hydroxychloroquine can help to save lives. An European study is going to clarify that.
        https://twitter.com/GSK_ES/status/1269645289893376004?s=20

        Like

      • Helen, maybe you should learn to read. Interesting study though, pity for you it’s not at all what you imagined.

        Like

    • Athanaore porphryrogenete

      I totally agree with Rd Lasius. Read Leonid. Cultivate yourself a bit. Raoult is arguing, quite interestingly, That Darwin’s vision was partly motivated by religion and that the tree of life clearly religion-inspired. In his work on bacteria, Raoult has successfully shown many times that the tree of life was a very poor model for reality that is much more bush-like. In fact, since Kimura, we know that Darwin initial guesses do not account very well for reality, especially the survival of the fittest paradigm. It is very clearly survival of the luckiest, which is not quite the same. This is what Raoult says, in his flamboyant way, a bit exaggerated, but much more scientifically accurate that this poorly written blog implies.

      Liked by 3 people

      • I haven’t read Raoult’s book on evolution, but if your rendering is correct, then, we can say that he has completely misunderstood Darwin and seems to ignore that since Darwin, evolutionary biology has, well, “evolved” a lot. And we all know that Darwin wasn’t right about everything. His theory has since then been corrected and enriched. But it is true that it was very poorly translated in French throughout the 19th and the first half ot the 20th century (because French scholars couldn’t stand that a British scientist could compete and question their great scientist Lamarck; so they literally boycotted him for decades) and nor until the late 70’s that it began to be properly understood and taught within the French academia. Still now, many French people confuse Lamarckism with Darwinism and the present-day concepts of evolution.

        Like

      • Athanaore porphryrogenete

        Hello Ariane, I admire your eagerness to comment on a book you have not read … What Raoult is attacking is the cult-like status of Darwin, and the fact that Darwinism is too often hailed as religion. He is right. Darwinism IS a theory, which is why it is superior to Creationism that is NOT a theory but a belief system. Raoult, as Popperian, claims his right to falsify Darwinism, as you would for any theory. You should go one day to one of his lectures.

        Like

  16. Pingback: COVID19 and Chloroquine - what does the science say? - Managed Care Matters

  17. Pingback: Are hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin an effective treatment for COVID-19? – Science-Based Medicine

  18. A.Benoit

    Je crois plutôt que les jaloux et les incompetents sont de sortie.. Il a 2600 publications ds des revues à comité de lecture. Dire qu’elles sont trafiquées est tt simplement de la pure malhonnêteté

    Like

    • Personne n’a dit que les données des 2600 études sont trafiquées. Par contre, il a été démontré qu’il a commis un certain nombre de fraudes et de manipulations. Par ailleurs, je ne sais pas pour vous, mais même en postulant une puissance de travail hors-paire, il est peu probable qu’il ait réussi à travailler sur 1-3 études par semaines! C’est simplement impossible. Il a donc très probablement exigé de signé comme co-auteur toutes les études qui sortaient de son instituts, probablement sans même les lire, parce qu’entre ses propres recherches et la gestion de son institut (qui compte 800 employés), je doute qu’il ait le temps de tout lire, aussi puissant soit-il.

      Accuser de jalouise et d’incompétence ceux qui vous démontrent par A+B que cette étude est complètement bidon et qu’il n’en est pas à son premier coup d’essai, mais sans en tenir compte, c’est un peu l’hôpital qui se fout de la charité.

      Like

    • E.Bowman

      Et écrire que l’article de ce blog prétendrait que TOUTES les études de Raoult sont traffiquées.. est une plus grande malhonnêteté encore.. A moins que ce ne soit une compréhension difficile. On se concentre !

      Liked by 1 person

  19. 思无邪

    Great article! Thanks for the work.

    Like

  20. Angrygirl

    Hi Leonid,

    Stick with cartoons carreer, leave science behind.

    Message you send with discrediting research effort during crisis like these could mean that you work for rich insurance funds who would rather have nothing used – and try to get rid of the old people…

    If you are not – you should at least be aware of what damage you can provoke – just by having free time.
    Get in the hospital – and be useful.

    Liked by 1 person

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