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?”

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 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—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.

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 “

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 on 28 March 2020


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162 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.

        Like

      • 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?

        Like

      • 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.

        Like

      • 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.

        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

    • 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.

      Like

      • 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.

        Like

      • John Stevenson

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

        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.

    Like

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

      Liked by 1 person

      • 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 🙂

        Like

      • 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

        Like

      • 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.

        Like

    • 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 2 people

  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 1 person

  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 2 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.

      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 1 person

    • 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 1 person

    • 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?

    Like

  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

    • 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 1 person

      • 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

  21. Athanaore porphryrogenete

    OK, so with Trump apparently supporting Raoult, an army of volunteers have decided that scanning and running al the 3.000 papers of Raoult through an image duplication software was the most urgent thing to do. Here is what they came out with. This is what gets Leonid so excited.

    What drove me nuts these last years have been all the cases of bands flipped 180 degrees – often out of the plane, something forbidden when ice skating – in photoshop and pasted. You don’t flip things like that by chance. This is genuinely disingenuous. By contrast, c/ping the wrong figure is something that happens a LOT, to all of us. Sometimes you catch it sometimes you don’t. If it is a secondary supporting figure, you never catch it. If it is a secondary paper you often don’t pay attention. Correcting the abstract is depressing enough….

    Now, I would argue that with four exceptions, everything reported inpub-peerr is minor, and within the boundaries of acceptable mistakes in a very big lab. Even considering the three worst ones (band duplications and re-used background), If one was to randomly take 3.000 publications, I am sure many many more things would come up. But it’s all about destroying Raout right? Because of Trump right?

    https://pubpeer.com/publications/E71C8E0323F9C4335AFEAC9E28BD76
    OK, they packed in a bit more in the images. – bad practice for sure, scientific crime? I don’t think so

    https://pubpeer.com/publications/E71C8E0323F9C4335AFEAC9E28BD76
    duplicated picture, used to be shown as an exemple. Give me ONE conclusion of the paper SUPPORTED OR NOT by this figure. May the one who never messed up the images throw the first pixel. If you have no reason to fraud, the most likely explanation is a mistake. And yes, kit happens – A LOT

    https://pubpeer.com/publications/4608D42F05A64C8CC261791FBF0E8B
    cut and paste bands with different labels. Bad style yes

    https://pubpeer.com/publications/17FFAA6A308B1C585F5B858270E602
    possible case of the same gel at different exposure levels with different labels. Bad style, yes

    https://pubpeer.com/publications/4608D42F05A64C8CC261791FBF0E8B#7
    cut and paste bands with different labels. Bad style yes

    https://pubpeer.com/publications/D2FBE34F49E965A8BE6730E531E9F1#1
    clear resume of the background -> bad style. AT the same time it is the validation of a monoclonal antibody. Ohhh. What an offense to science. Just a poor engineering paper

    https://pubpeer.com/publications/94C83AFDA24223756DB6B7067EB483#3
    duplication of Figure …. S15 . Oh my god. S15! Who has ever looked at S15. You put S15 for yourself, just to make sure you remember what you actually did

    https://pubpeer.com/publications/8A980938D1FAEA13F9CBF1884C2002#1
    Oh my god, the citations are not where they should be. Retract Retract

    https://pubpeer.com/publications/54C2CD0E0EC09BFFDD962977373AE6#0
    slight imprecision on the strains

    https://pubpeer.com/publications/58C978FB447B6D3D849F2CAD757F13#0
    slight imprecision on the strains

    https://pubpeer.com/publications/1790C23F38ECA4972F1F703EA6875F#0
    slight imprecision on the strains

    https://pubpeer.com/publications/3480B9DE6C9330B0747034C330BA6A
    big fight between Raoult and Claverie on calling the viral system a CRISPR – good science

    Like

    • alfricabos

      “By contrast, c/ping the wrong figure is something that happens a LOT, to all of us.” I am sorry, but this is called sloppiness.

      Like

  22. Hi Tom

    Clinicians in Italy, Spain and France at this very moment are having to choose who to treat based on assumed outcome. Individuals requiring critical care will not receive it. Those individuals are entitled to that treatment and these states have an obligation to protect and care for its citizens. Unfortunately this pandemic has put clinicians in a war time situation and outcome based assessments are needed because of a lack of resources.

    With the reality of having to deny individuals critical care and instead managing, if the patients are lucky, their final days and hours it would seem to me to be quite ethical for a doctor to consider a request from a patient for treatment with a combination of hydroxychloroquine and zpac.

    Like

    • Some other researcher

      So let me see if I understand this correctly:

      Only 15 % of the patients had a fever?

      4 were asymptomatic carriers but still hospitalized?

      There was no informed consent for the treatment?

      There was no randomized control group despite the mostly mild symptoms?

      It’s extremely unclear why most of these patients were hospitalized in the first place. Difficulty to breathe?

      Like

  23. Dr Zierer

    Hydroxychloroquinine (HCQ) is also used in rheumatism therapy to immobilize neutrophiel granulocytes (PMN), since HCQ binds to PMN micro-tubules, further to that priming of the PMN is reduced. As a result, pro-inflammatory cytokines such as IL-1, IL-6 are released to a lesser extent if the PMN overreacts to stimuli such as LPS, viruses (in NK cells) and complement components. It apparently also works in the CNS, where it reduces the release of IL-1 and resolves psychiatric symptoms (off-label use in: Bartonella henselae Bloodstream Infection in a Boy With Pediatric Acute-Onset Neuropsychiatric Syndrome
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6423671/ ). The same applies to the spindle poison colchicine, which also reduces inflammation by reduction of release of pro-inflammatory cytokines. Colchicine is concentrated in PMN and nerve cells, not in serum. We have successfully used this – off label (analog to Mediterranean familiar fever) – to lower fever due to systemic IL-6 overproduction in a post- infectious syndrome of C jejuni, after prednisolone 100mg, novalgin (3000mg), paracetamol 5000mg), ibuprofen (2000mg) were ineffective in lowering fever. It could be, that excessive recruitment and over-priming of PMN followed by excessive release of pro-inflammatory cytokine, that body’s own defense could damage organs , which could be prevented by , HCQ or colchicine. However, this does not mean that HCQ interferes with the metabolism of Covid-19 replication. Azithromycin (AZT) accumulates in the PMN, especially the alveolar macorphage. These are eukaryotes, where it inhibits the ribosomal protein synthesis of prokaryotes (bacteria) that have been phagocytized. AZT could thus prevent bacterial superinfection as part of a Covid 19 virus infection. AZT is a macrolide, and an inhibitory intervention in Covid 19 virus replication would be extremely surprising. The combination of AZT and HCQ has also been successfully used to treat neuropsychiatric symptoms of a child, infected with B henselae, supra, unfortunately, the doctors had not carried out an analysis of the pro-inflammatory cytokines in that case.
    It would be helpful if there would surface some evidence about AZT and HCQ that affect the virus metabolism. So far, from clinical aspects, I would suggest, that the combination of HQC and AZT would simply ameliorate the inflammatory symptoms of Corona-19-virus infection, such as bacterial pneumonia, but not counter act the virus infection as such. Not at all I can see a preventive measurement of the combination of HQC and AZT in counteracting the Corona-19-virus infection

    Like

  24. Jean-François Cloutier

    «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.»

    This is political ans social ideological bullshit..

    Like

  25. So what you tell us is that all those searchers are fake and liars?? Florence Fenollar , Stéphane Sire , Nathalie Wilhelm, Miguel A. De La Cruz , Weidong Zhao , Carine Farenc , Grégory Gimenez , Didier Raoult , Christian Cambillau , Jean-Pierre Gorvel , Stéphane Méress, Aurélien Fotso Fotso , Oleg Mediannikov , Claude Nappez , Michel Drancourt , Michel Azza, S Meconi , C Capo , M Remacle-Bonnet , G Pommier , J L Meg, M Kowalczewska, A N’Djatchi , C Nappez , S Alwassouf, P Decloquement, N Armstrong, K El Karkouri, and S Edouard.

    Like

  26. Philippe

    Interesting article that is so biased and full of attack. You should be a shame of yourself., particularly in these times. We should have listened to the Chinese first, then to the Pr Raoult that basically run a study to verify these results and now backed up with another study on 80 patients and no confirmed by the Australian. This treatment is the only thing we have and if we had practiced it 2 months we would not have been where we are now. In time of urgency you have to take shortcut and trust your experts. Let me guess you must be biased politically to write such crap. These experts dedicated their life to this science. Shame on you!!!

    Like

    • Your Pr Raoult is so used to lying that he even lied about Chinese preliminary data, which doesn’t exist. While you eat your aquarium cleaner, I updated my article with this:

      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.”

      Like

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  28. Pingback: Post-publication reviews on COVID-19 papers – Science Integrity Digest

  29. French MD

    He just wants to promote his new book, issues yesterday, about pandemics (how convenient)…. with a big “covid 19” on the cover

    Like

  30. Hi Leonid,

    As a non scientist, I have a couple of questions about modifying images in scientific publications.

    Here is an article identified on Pubpeers as having doctored images (not a Raoult publication) : https://pubpeer.com/publications/7B8DDC913375F15C078F677F20594F

    The author replied that the images had been modified “for the sake of clarity” and publishes the complete images.

    Is it common for scientists to modify images “for the sake of clarity” ? Is a modified image in itself enough to invalidate a publication’s conclusions ?

    Many thanks and regards.

    Like

    • This was Anne Peyroche replying. Knowing her criminal energy, I would not trust the image she posted as raw data. https://forbetterscience.com/2020/02/19/cea-declares-anne-peyroches-data-fakery-scientifically-correct/

      Like

    • arthroceph@gmail.com

      Hey Paul, that’s a good point. However, one would then expect the image/figure caption to say as much, i.e. “in the interests of clarity, we have done … such and such”. Generally, raw, unadulterated data is prized. So the answer would be no.

      In any case, the target audience of scientific papers is scientific peers, not the public at large, so clarity is not often prioritised. A certain mimimum level is required, but only in the sense that the arguments should be logical. In practice however, scientific papers are devoid of narrative, are often just listings of facts, and avoid saying one thing in more than one way, which is often a hallmark of clear exposition (an exception would be summaries and abstracts, but these are meant to also be self-standing, that is why they repeat material).

      A more plausible reason for manipulation would not be for increasing clarity, but for reducing verbosity, or cutting down outsized images that wouldn’t fit on the publisher’s page. Actually this is common in mathematical graphs, where axes and scales are often manipulated so that the figure will fit in its allocated space. Again however, the caption to the graph would really have to be explicit about what was done.

      Like

    • Sorry I should have also commented on your final question: “Is a modified image in itself enough to invalidate a publication’s conclusions ?”

      As it stands, I would say, “not often, no” to this question. I would say, it may diminish the respect and integrity attached to the authors, but may be not even in a substantial way, as long as, and this should be stressed, no intention to delude can be perceived.

      However, deadlines, and the resulting rush often make it unclear as to what extent an image manipulation is an overt objective, rather than the effect of the pressure of having to submit within a prescribed time frame. As per my previous point, however, it may be better to include a caption saying “in the interests of timeliness, we have manipulated this figure, etc.”

      Liked by 1 person

  31. Sebastien

    Truly interesting content! I also feel very skeptical about chloroquine to treat Covid19. But some of your statements deeply question your own integrity and objectivity on this topic. Stating that French government decided to deploy chloroquine as the medicine to treat COVID19 (…) based on Trump’s tweets is really a big joke. And strongly minors the credibility of this publication.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sorry about that. Of course French government issued this guideline based on peer reviewed research of Pr Raoult and following Macron’s coordination with US President. My apologies. I will delete my site now.

      Like

    • Euh, no: French Government has not decided to deploy chloroquine as THE medecine to treat Covid19 : they just open the possibility to use it.

      Like

  32. bill wilder

    As much as it pains you to give Dr. Raoult any credit, here are the results of a second study (80 patients) that shows tremendous results. https://www.mediterranee-infection.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/COVID-IHU-2-1.pdf

    Liked by 1 person

  33. Pingback: Thoughts on the Gautret et al. paper about Hydroxychloroquine and Azithromycin treatment of COVID-19 infections – Science Integrity Digest

  34. A new batch of datas has been send to the french experts by Raoult pertaining to more than 700 patients contamined and treated with the 2 molecules. Only 1 death for the moment.
    to follow….

    Like

    • Some other researcher

      And how many of those patients were actually seriously ill? That preprint you’ve been spamming here gives the impression that you have been wasting precious hospital resources on hospitalizing patients with no or minimal symptoms and then subjected them to experimental treatment without informed consent.

      Like

      • «And how many of those patients were actually seriously ill?»

        This is actually Raoult point. He give treatment as soon as you have symptoms or as you are test positive, so his method lower viral charge and lower chance to get more severed ill as he give medicin at the very early stage.

        Like

      • Some other researcher

        “This is actually Raoult point. He give treatment as soon as you have symptoms or as you are test positive, so his method lower viral charge and lower chance to get more severed ill as he give medicin at the very early stage.”

        That’s how he hopes it works as prophylaxis but he doesn’t actually know this since he refused to do a proper randomized controlled study. Which he had and still has an excellent opportunity to do.

        Like

      • Recent news:

        «Das Malariamittel ist unsere grösste Hoffnung»
        Novartis-Chef Vas Narasimhan über den Kampf gegen das Virus und den Stopp des Jobabbau-Programmes.
        “Pre-clinical studies in animals as well as the first data from clinical studies show that hydroxychloroquine kills the coronavirus,” Narasimhan told the newspaper. “We’re working with Swiss hospitals on possible treatment protocols for the clinical use of the drug, but it’s too early to say anything definitively.”

        https://www.tagesanzeiger.ch/sonntagszeitung/das-malariamittel-ist-unsere-groesste-hoffnung/story/23326259
        2. FDA issues emergency authorization of anti-malaria drug for coronavirus care

        https://www.politico.com/news/2020/03/29/fda-emergency-authorization-anti-malaria-drug-155095

        Like

  35. JL in NJ

    My grandfather was a NYC policeman during 1918 Spanish Flu epidemic. Things were dire and working with doctors the police would take away sick family members to a field hospital. This was done to help spare the rest of family and to help isolate the disease. My mother was 3 years old at the time with a baby sister. To avoid bringing the disease home, the doctor advised my grandfather to always wash up and change clothes outside the home. In addition he was told to chew tobacco all day long. In the evening wash out the tobacco and gargle with scotch whiskey. The family stayed well through out the epidemic.

    Like

    • Dr Zierer

      My father was a child in 1919, in the German colony of South-West-Africa,, living in Luederitz-Bay (now state of Namibia). he reported, that people with Spanish flue were concentrated by the British authorities on shark-island, in front of the Luederitz bay. At that time, there was no help at all, more worse, due to WW1, people, in particular of the loser-side (Germany-Austria-Hungarian Nations on Balkan-Ukrainia) were heavily starved and in addition incapacitated by tuberculosis, which paved the way for the viral invasion. Thats why there was the incredible high death rate due to Spanish flue in central Europe / continental Europe, compared to the Entente, whose population had free supply of food. now days, fortunately, Europe did not have that 4-year-long-lasting war, obviously free access to food supply, and no spread of tuberculosis, at least in central Europe. The outcome of COVID-19 should be different from 1919-Spanish-flue in Europe. On other continents with different nutritional and infectious co-background , it could be different.

      Like

  36. 100% of the 701 patients have been tested + covid 19 before getting the treatment of course.
    You will see the study very soon.
    I do not know what you are talking about regarding spamming….
    If the patient is seriously ill ( like intubeted) the treatment wont work ( usually viral charge is low at that stage).
    That is why Raoult recommands giving the treatment at the begining to reduce the viral charge so infection dont get time to develop.
    So i agree with a part of what you said treatement is not really working with patient seriously ill.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Some other researcher

      The preprint was clear about the patients having tested positive for Covid-19 but that does not generally result in hospitalization. Most patients are just isolated at home and it is a pretty huge difference in severity between a mild fever to the need of intubation. Further, I see no justifications for not doing a proper randomized controlled trial with the patients who had mild symptoms. It seems to me that Raoult is so enamored with the idea of hydroxychloroquinine working that he is wasting precious time and resources that should have been used to test whether it actually works in a randomized trial.

      Randomly assigned 30 treated + 30 controls from the low risk group in the preprint might not be the largest amount but if the efficiency actually is good enough to be a “game changer” it should have been clear enough to see there. The way it was done instead leaves me with absolutely no idea to whether hydroxychloroquinine really is working or not.

      Like

  37. viral load not charge 🙂

    Like

  38. Darth typhi

    COVID-19: a tragedy that the humane among us will always remember, for reason of compassion.
    Raoult and Trump: men we will soon forget, for no worthy reason to remember them.

    Like

  39. I have to say that the 80-patient cohort (https://www.mediterranee-infection.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/COVID-IHU-2-1.pdf) is also flawed. My analysis is here. https://twitter.com/houndcl/status/1243983427461767171.

    Figure 1: percentage was calculated as [N.positives] / [N.total], instead of [N.positives] / [N.tested].

    — The “N.D” = negative.

    This makes a little sense, because once result is negative, doctor is unlikely to order another test.

    Six patients (HCQ + AZ) from the first study were also included in this cohort, in which Patent No. 5 DID NOT have PCR data at day 1 and day 2. However, Figure 1 shows that ALL 80 patients were tested.

    — This time, “N.D” = tested, but I am happy that Dr. eventually found the missing data! Congrats.
    Suppl Table 1 shows that 2 patients, one transferred to ICU and one dead, “still have Ct < 34”. Based on this, author concluded that “The number of patients presumably contagious (with a PCR Ct value<34) steadily decreased overtime and reached ZERO on Day12 (Figure 1).”

    — Yeah, “N.D.” due to patient loss does not count.

    In addition to NO CONTROL design and the amazing 15% fever rate, the whole study is a crap.

    Like

    • Like

    • Dr Zierer

      I also recognized the 15% fever-free-patients. However the report says, that best results are obtained with HCQ and AZT, if there is not yet fever, which means, that the alveolar-space, i.e. alveolar-macrophages have not yet been affected, but the naso-pharyngeo-bronchial space. That makes the difference in pathology, viremia, and therapeutic planning. which has to be considered, and – correctly reported.

      Like

      • Dr Zierer

        One cannot simply compare the data of chloroquinine (CQ) in vitro (cell cultures) with data of hydroxychloroquinine (HCQ) in patients with COVID-19 virus infection. Both substances have different pharmacokinetics in humans. Both substances are concentrated in the erythrocyte (leucocytes?), have a high plasma binding, and consist of racemic mixtures. HCQ has therapeutic (anti malaria) plasma concentrations between 39 ng / mL to 79 ng / mL, a much higher concentration is found in the erythrocytes (plasma-ERY-ratio=1:7), similar to CQ with a plama-ERY-ratio of 1:5 (Goodman & Gilmans The pharmacological basis of therapeutics, 12. edition, page 1939t). Toxic concentrations of CQ in humans start at 0,25 microgram/mL corresponding to 0,5 microM (Goodman & Gilmans The pharmacological basis of therapeutics, 7. edition, page 1678).

        The clinical study on patients suffering from COVID-19-Virus-infection is based on preclinical results from cell cultures, infected with SARS-Corona-virus and addition of CQ. CQ was added experimentally in cell cultures up to 10 microM corresponding to 5190 microgram / liter (Martin J Vincent,1 Eric Bergeron,2 Suzanne Benjannet,2 Bobbie R Erickson,1 Pierre E Rollin,1 Thomas G Ksiazek,1 Nabil G Seidah,2 and Stuart T Nichol 1
        1Special Pathogens Brach, Division of Viral and Rickettsial Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia 1600 Clifton Road, 30333 USA
        2Laboratory of Biochemical Neuroendocrinology, Clinical Research Institute of Montreal, Montreal, 110 Pine Ave West, QCH2W1R7 Canada;
        Chloroquine is a potent inhibitor of SARS coronavirus infection and spread
        Virol J. 2005; 2: 69. Published online 2005 Aug 22. doi: 10.1186/1743-422X-2-69).

        This in vitro reported COVID-19-virus-elimination concentration range, i.e. 0,1 micro molar to 10 microMolar, would be considered as being toxic in humans, according to Godman & Gilman, 7. edition.

        Free proportions of HCQ and CQ, volume of distribution and racemic concentrations are not comparable. The results from the cell cultures with SARS virus and CQ are an indication, that should be followed up in vivo. The researchers should have analyzed the blood of their COVID-19-patients for the pharmacokinetics of racemic compounds of HCQ in plasma / erythrocytes / leucocytes. Lacking that information, it is very premature from a medical point of view to draw therapeutic end results for the medical treatment of COVID-19 patients with HCQ, as reported by Professor D Raoult (didier.raoult@gmail.com) from IHU Mediterranee Infection, Marceille, France, 2020, publishes under “Clinical and microbiological effect of a combination of hydroxychloroquinine and azithromycin in 80 COVID-19 patients with at least a six-day follow up: an observational study”.

        On the other hand, one could regard this observational study as an important step further for elucidation a ratio of therapy of COVID-19.

        Like

  40. Mutasem Taha

    The first to publish about the effectiveness of chloroquine against SARS coronavirus was the American Centers For Disease Control (CDC) during 2005 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1232869/
    Then the Chinese confirmed that on their official TV

    Like

    • Can you read beyond the heading? Do you know the difference between yourself and a dish of a cell culture monolayer?
      https://dx.doi.org/10.1186%2F1743-422X-2-69

      Conclusion
      Chloroquine is effective in preventing the spread of SARS CoV in cell culture. Favorable inhibition of virus spread was observed when the cells were either treated with chloroquine prior to or after SARS CoV infection. In addition, the indirect immunofluorescence assay described herein represents a simple and rapid method for screening SARS-CoV antiviral compounds.”

      Like

  41. Gary Lee Connor

    Lol. For someone who asks the Question “BUT WHAT IF RAOULT IS RIGHT AND IT WORKS?????” you go on with a stream of personal attacks and do not address your own question.
    Much in here is written to not even hide the BIAS dripping from it as if you wrote it in a fever pitch of Hate.
    Nobody who reads this comes away feeling like you have even been close to…”Objective”..

    Like

    • Gary, he adds “I hear you ask” to that. I.e. it’s not a question he is asking, but rather one that he has heard asked.

      Like

  42. Dr Zierer

    One cannot simply compare the data of chloroquinine (CQ) in vitro (cell cultures) with data of hydroxychloroquinine (HCQ) in patients with COVID-19 virus infection. Both substances have different pharmacokinetics in humans. Both substances are concentrated in the erythrocyte (leucocytes?), have a high plasma binding, and consist of racemic mixtures. HCQ has therapeutic (anti malaria) plasma concentrations between 39 ng / mL to 79 ng / mL, a much higher concentration is found in the erythrocytes (plasma-ERY-ratio=1:7), similar to CQ with a plama-ERY-ratio of 1:5 (Goodman & Gilmans The pharmacological basis of therapeutics, 12. edition, page 1939t). Toxic concentrations of CQ in humans start at 0,25 microgram/mL corresponding to 0,5 microM (Goodman & Gilmans The pharmacological basis of therapeutics, 7. edition, page 1678).

    The clinical study on patients suffering from COVID-19-Virus-infection is based on preclinical results from cell cultures, infected with SARS-Corona-virus and addition of CQ. CQ was added experimentally in cell cultures up to 10 microM corresponding to 5190 microgram / liter (Martin J Vincent,1 Eric Bergeron,2 Suzanne Benjannet,2 Bobbie R Erickson,1 Pierre E Rollin,1 Thomas G Ksiazek,1 Nabil G Seidah,2 and Stuart T Nichol 1
    1Special Pathogens Brach, Division of Viral and Rickettsial Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia 1600 Clifton Road, 30333 USA
    2Laboratory of Biochemical Neuroendocrinology, Clinical Research Institute of Montreal, Montreal, 110 Pine Ave West, QCH2W1R7 Canada;
    Chloroquine is a potent inhibitor of SARS coronavirus infection and spread
    Virol J. 2005; 2: 69. Published online 2005 Aug 22. doi: 10.1186/1743-422X-2-69).

    This range of concentration would be considered as being toxic in humans, according to Godman & Gilman, 7. edition.

    Free proportions of HCQ and CQ, volume of distribution and racemic concentrations are not comparable. The results from the cell cultures with SARS virus and CQ are an indication, that should be followed up in vivo. The researchers should have analyzed the blood of their COVID-19-patients for the pharmacokinetics of racemic compounds of HCQ in plasma / erythrocytes / leucocytes. Lacking that information, it is very premature from a medical point of view to draw therapeutic end results for the medical treatment of COVID-19 patients with HCQ, as reported by Professor D Raoult (didier.raoult@gmail.com) from IHU Mediterranee Infection, Marceille, France, 2020, publishes under “Clinical and microbiological effect of a combination of hydroxychloroquinine and azithromycin in 80 COVID-19 patients with at least a six-day follow up: an observational study”.

    On the other hand, one could regard this observational study as an important step further for elucidation a ratio of therapy of COVID-19.

    Like

  43. Karl Friedrich

    Excellent article in the tradition of muck raking. Everybody should be skeptical about an alleged fraud, especially when it’s touted by fake news organizations like Fox and parroted by proven con men like Trump. Keep up the good work. The hallmark of a dying and inquitous social arrangement is the inability to agree on the simplest of facts.

    Like

    • Everybody is quick to call everybody a conman and slap a MeToo on it for good measure these days. Bu I am still undecided on the efficacy of HCQ

      Like

  44. Mutasem Taha

    This recent article argued that the dose of hydroxychloroquine required for clinically useful anti-COVID19 efficacy is below toxic levels

    https://www.nature.com/articles/s41421-020-0156-0

    Like

  45. confidential

    I used to work at Raoult’s lab in Marseille and I confirm the previous testimony from H-perm concerning the crazy atmosphere in this institute .
    Some positive points : IHU mediterranée Infection is a very well-equipped medical reserach institute and the staff (engineers, technicians, admin managers, researchers) are individually extremely competents. Raoult tried to have the most international research center and he welcomes students from various countries.
    But …
    because Prof Raoult is authoritarian, technical staff from IHU dedicated to research may fear to say that something is wrong or not working. And it’s this behaviour which, for me, could be a serious barrier for research integrity in some of his scientific work.
    Bullying people presenting their work during the weekly staff meeting at the Prof Raoult’s lab was quite common. People were giving a 5 min –talk about their progress. This time was never a time for discussion between Prof Raoult and the presenters : people were just showing their slides in silence, Raoult was thinking , sometimes talking to one of the other professors. You have just to answer to specific questions and not invited to give any point of view. Some engineers, especially the new ones, were trying to argue with prof Raoult but they didn’t last long in the institute.For those who tried, Raoult had also this usual reply : « You are not paid for thinking ».
    When Raoult was not in a good mood, this staff meeting were like a roman circus game where people liked to see which one of their colleagues will be destroyed. The ones who did huges efforts to show nice work were preferentially targeted : Once, one of his recent co-author turned into red at the edge of crying while Raoult just denied his work in front of all the medical staff and crudely make fun of his work. I also saw two engineers crying when presenting their results until he suddenly stop their speech because they were not enought reactives to answer his questions.

    His behaviour encouraged some of the technical staff of the IHU to hide negative results, or any problems concerning on-going experimentations. People used to discharge their failings to others so problems were never solved. And a simple mistake could become then a real problem. A lot of people had short-term contracts so they were hoping to get a permanent position and they were completely cared to loose their job. So they were ready to do anything to stay in the institute.
    In terms of feelings, people at the IHU are either scared by Prof Raoult, either completely enthralled by him or either trying to take advanges of him and his mediatic/political influences. By the fact, some technicians and engineers are captivated by him and are mimicking him : bullying other staff especially those who have a fragile personnality.
    In this context, it’s difficult to imagine how a technical staff (in charge to prove that the head of their Institute was right) will be able to report any negative results or limitations of the study during their investigations about the efficiency of combination of hydroxychloroquine/ azithromycine against covid19. Especially after the youtube video announcement posted by Raoult saying « Chloroquine will work ».
    So when you know the context of the working environment at the IHU med Infection and you see that the published results have some biaises, you have to be cautious. And it’s fair to confirm any encouraging results in other institutes.

    Liked by 1 person

    • This commentary is important, as much i like Raoult and his strong personality, as much it can be a double edge knife if his student and employees are scare of him..

      Like

  46. I request all you learned people to finally get to the gist of the article and all the comments for scientifically illiterate people like me that in your learned opinion

    1 DO YOU THINK HYDROXYCHLOROQUINE TREATMENT WOULD WORK.
    2. DESPITE ALL THE FAULTS CAN WE TAKE DIDIER RAOULTS CLAIM THAT COVID 19 CAN BE TREATED WITH THIS.
    3 WHAT ARE THE RESULT TRENDS FROM THE FIELD WHERE THIS TREATMENT IS BEING GIVEN. IS IT SHOWING POSITIVE RESULTS IN MAJORITY CASES OR NOT.

    Thanks

    Like

  47. Guys m not at all related to medical science m just a common citizen trying to find answers and positive news to further tell my kids and family. All the hublabo about hydroxychloroquine gave us hope that all this might be over someday not too far. From what I understand that one cannot accept the snail paced highly meticulous approach of developing a cure when people are dying. What I want to know is did the treatment kill the virus in a lab. If it did then was it tried on patients, what was most of the outcome which side is the scale tilting. Then is it being used as a treatment at a larger scale? If yes then what do the results indicate is it working on most of the patients or not. Why to complicate it so much. There are around half a million people infected so no death of subjects. If I was to get ill tomorrow I would want a treatment to be given to me which was working in most of the people. As long as it works I dont care about any statistics and if it doesn’t work on me then try the second option like Remdesivir or something.

    Also if roult is wrong what about anecdotal success stories coming across the world like that in india.

    Third in india rajasthan people were cured with hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine plus kaletra (mix of HIV drugs Lopinavir/ritonavir) but in another study the HIV drug Lopinavir/ritonavir were found to be not working. Similarly a Chinese study showed hydroxychloroquine didn’t have much affect alone but then again a person was treated in india with same mix. So has someone tested that maybe they work well together so why is it not quickly tested on a few patients by giving hydroxychloroquine and Lopinavir/ritonavir and then share the results with the public.

    Such fast most pandemic would require such fast moving research speed one cannot be taking thier own sweet time as if everything is normal and flowers are blooming and people are dancing.

    Lastly why are the authorities not sharing the information on what is going on in the trials or what kind of results are being achieved with certain medicine as of now. So that people are well aware and also gain hope and positivity. Something that is badly needed in today’s time.

    In the end I apologize if I have said anything wrong or overstepped my bounds as I am an illiterate when it comes to science.

    Like

    • Just because someone received the drug and got better does not necessarily mean that he got better BECAUSE of the drug. That’s why we need clinical studies and not anecdotes like “people were cured”. Were they cured, or did they simply get better (like most corona patients do)?

      Like

  48. Pingback: Chronique des jours étranges – Les étapes du deuil | Le blog de Borée

  49. Pingback: Hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin versus COVID-19: Grift, conspiracy theories, and another bad study by Didier Raoult – Science-Based Medicine

  50. Some points to remember. Every SARS-COV2 infection is unique, because like other RNA viruses it mutates so fast that every codon in its genome will be changed many times in viruses within the resident population during the course of an infection. Every individual is unique in terms of their immune system, infection history, nutrition, health issues, etc., so interactions with the virus will vary considerably. And societies differ greatly in the extent to which they can mobilize effective measures to prevent viral spread and care for those who become infected. There will not be one solution to this problem, no matter how many snake oil salesmen roll into town trying to sell us one. A truly effective society would deal with these clowns in the time honored fashion, by tarring and feathering them and running them out of town on a rail. As it is, we at least have Leonid’s cartoons.

    Liked by 1 person

  51. Pingback: Dider Raoult, le génie de la chloroquine qui sauvera le monde du COVID-19 » Simplement correct | Simply correct

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  55. I am an environmental microbiologist native of Marseille where I did all my university studies. I am not particularly a fan of Prof. Raoult and I looked at all you wrote with interest, particularly the extensive critics of his 1st “clinical assay” of HCQ + azithromycin treatment. As a microbiologist, there is however a little point where I believe that you did nor report the correct information.
    Indeed, you wrote the following: “…and he is so important that he named two bacteria species after himself: Raoultella planticola and Rickettsia raoultii”. In modern microbiology, no one will publish the description of a new genera or new species of bacteria that he isolated by giving himself his name to the new described mircroorganism. If you take a look to the papers where Raoultella planticola and Rickettsia raoultii have been described, you will see that Prof Raoult was not an author of the articles:

    https://www.microbiologyresearch.org/content/journal/ijsem/10.1099/00207713-51-3-925

    https://www.microbiologyresearch.org/content/journal/ijsem/10.1099/ijs.0.64952-0

    Of course that some of the authors of these papers were closed collaborators of Prof. Raoult, but it is very common in bacteriology that new genera or species are named according to the name of researchers who made a great contribution to the field of microbiology and this of course is often done by past collaborators of these researchers. Below some examples of this:

    Methanospirillum hungatei named in honour of Prof. Robert Hungate
    Desulfomonile tiedjei named in honour of Prof. James Tiedje
    Syntrophomonas wolfei named in honour of Prof Ralph Wolfe
    Thermotoga lettingae named in honour of Prof. Gatze Lettinga
    Garciella nitratireducens named in honour to Dr. Jean-Louis Garcia
    etc, etc, etc.

    Then, by writing the text as you did, it seems that you want to give the feeling that Prof. Raoult has an oversized ego. You are maybe true, but the argument that you used here is not valid. As a consequence, I believe that you should rephrase this sentence or eliminate it from your article.

    Like

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  61. boy this post is already aging badly:
    https://www.fda.gov/media/136534/download

    https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.03.22.20040758v1

    https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.03.24.20042366v1

    https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.03.22.20040949v1

    i know this may be difficult for protocol worshiping bourgeois academics to understand, but it is actually possible for someone to come to a correct conclusion from flawed science. it’s also seemingly difficult to understand for the same people that the role of a medical doctor is to save lives, not just carry out science experiments. it’s why this sociopathic attitude of waiting 2 years for the absolutely perfect test to emerge before doing anything, regardless of how many people will die because of that, is so incredibly common in bourgeois academics. you’re not viewing the people suffering from this disease as human beings, but rather just data points and test subjects to create the most aesthetically pleasing science possible.

    the question is, when Dr. Raoult is proven correct, will you admit he was right and you were wrong, or will you ignore the truth because you dont like the way they got there?

    Like

    • Well said! After all, Medicine is an Art, not science.

      Like

    • The old saying is that a broken clock is right twice a day, or perhaps more appropriate in this case, even a blind pig finds the odd truffle. How class enters into this discussion, I can’t really see. I can see that for whatever the political reasons may be, the so-called advanced nations that have allowed their biomedical science systems to become dominated by half-bright wankers – many featured in this blog – are showing strikingly high rates of infection, and shockingly high death rates from same. In science you can’t be right for the wrong reasons, but you can be the wrong person for a job that could have been much more profitably occupied by someone else. Pretending to be a proper scientist is about the most bourgeois thing I can think of – aside from considering the ethical testing of treatments to be sociopathic

      Like

    • You have not even read the headlines behind the links you shared. Let me explain it for you:
      https://www.fda.gov/media/136534/download
      Because chloroquine fan Trump is the President, maybe?

      https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.03.22.20040758v1
      See here what weird things happened in that clinical trial:
      https://pubpeer.com/publications/71E74AD5896DCF99981A47917DE097

      https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.03.24.20042366v1
      It’s a literature review. This means: it contains NO new research, but discusses the work by Raoult and others.

      https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.03.22.20040949v1
      This paper is a re-analysis of Gaultret et al study and shows that its numbers do not make sense. Do you understand what this means to your argument? Probably not.

      Like

      • i think it’s you who hasn’t read anything, actually.

        from the lover paper: “However, these data do suggest further study of HCQ-AZ combination therapy should be prioritized as rapidly as possible.”

        from the kapoor: “Conclusions: There is theoretical, experimental, preclinical and clinical evidence of the effectiveness of chloroquine in patients affected with COVID-19. There is adequate evidence of drug safety from the long-time clinical use of chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine in other indications”

        when it comes to the FDA and the chinese study, i know that you, having never seen a patient, having never watched someone slowly drown, have no perspective on this whatsoever, but sometimes it is necessary for actual MDs (which you are not) to try to do SOMETHING to save their patients, and they often do not have time to gather the clean data that you would like.

        let me ask you this, leonid, and i very much doubt you’ll even bother answering. i suspect you lack the fortitude or the introspection necessary for an honest answer.

        would you have the guts to tell someone who is dying in an agonizing manner, to tell their families, that you need to wait 2 years for the perfect trial to even attempt to save their lives? or would you give them a medicine which has at least some chance of success and a proven record of safety? do you even realize how utterly psychotic this all sounds?

        do you actually care that these are living human beings suffering horribly, or do you just care about how aesthetically pleasing the data you can collect from them is?

        i’m not sure if HCQ is the answer. no one is yet. but it’s peak bourgeois ivory tower academic horseshit to think you should just watch human beings suffer and die while you do nothing rather than write a sloppy paper. more than that, it’s frankly psychotic. not everyone lives in the bubble you do, some people actually have to make life and death decisions and do so quickly. it’s very easy to critique other’s work when your feet are so far from the fire they have frostbite.

        Like

      • You are not a doctor, right? Not even working in medical profession, just another tech aficionado who thinks he is the expert in medical research. Here, you like to pretend that you are saving human lives daily, while the rest of us are just writing academic treatises for the purpose of self-promotion. Just like Prof Raoult does, every day another paper. Oh wait.
        Good bye.

        Like

    • Immanual Can't

      In order to prevent any confusion and foster discussion between readers I’ve taken the liberty to translate key phrases to bourgeois english.

      “Protocol worshipping”: Prioritization of adherence to good scientific conduct over ones ego
      “Correct conclusion”: Currently unverified hypothesis
      “Flawed Science”: Studies without proper controls and/or data manipulation, omission or other oddities
      “Sociopathic attitude”: Reluctance to administer bioactive molecules with unknown risks/benefits
      “Waiting 2 years”: Clinical trials
      “Perfect test”: FDA-approved treatments/drugs
      “Aesthetically pleasing science”: Concurrance of observed data with hypothesis
      “Proving Dr. Raoult correct”: Obtaining aesthetically pleasing science from Dr. Raoult’s correct conclusion via application non-flawed science by protocol worshipping bourgeois scientists. Concurrent sociopathic attitudes can be remedied by waiting 2 years, possibly in expedited fashion. Ideally results in the perfect test.

      Like

      • Seems to be a typo in your last name, there.

        Like

      • Immanuel Can't

        First author here. Actually the typo is in the first name, which of course is Immanuel, and the second “concurrent” should be “concomitant”. I apologize for the mistakes which seem to have sneaked in during manuscript preparation.

        The central message, however, is unaffected by these errors.

        Like

    • Some other researcher

      Raoult had (and still has) a large number of mild cases that could easily have been randomized properly. If we disregard that he seems quite untrustworthy, we would have had the results from the same patients by now and got a much better view of whether the treatment is helpful or not.

      If HCQ later turns out to be helpful, the credit is to be given to serious researchers who investigated it properly in random controlled studies rather than to snake oil salesmen like Raoult.

      Like

  62. Smut Clyde

    it probably helped that the journal’s Editor-in-Chief is both the paper’s coauthor

    Co-author Philippe Colson is also on the journals Editorial Board.

    Like

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  68. I think your opinion is biased

    Like

  69. Bernd the Austrian

    Dear Leonid Schneider,
    Not only French, but other eminent European scietist like Elena Gomez and science influencer (@elenagomezdiaz), support the use of hidroxicloroquine.
    Read the article here:
    https://www.redleonardo.es/noticias/un-antiguo-farmaco-contra-la-malaria-una-nueva-baza-contra-el-coronavirus/
    I am sorry, but maybe Mr. Leonid Schneider is the one that is wrong (again).

    Like

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  79. On Apr 3rd, the president of International Society of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy issued a statement regarding the paper “not meet the Society’s expected standard”

    https://www.isac.world/news-and-publications/official-isac-statement

    Like

    • RCT are for losers.

      Like

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