Last month, Donald Trump announced that he had been talking hydroxychloroquine as a preventative measure against coronavirus after two White House staffers tested positive for the illness.
Before that, in March, Quartz reported that the President first mentioned the drug's use to treat patients during a press conference:
“...Donald Trump surprised some observers in the medical sciences world when he revealed the US Food and Drugs Administration had approved the use of chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine for the treatment of the coronavirus in patients.”
Often combined with zinc, hydroxychloroquine was noted to show “encouraging signs in small, early tests against the coronavirus.” The drug was developed a decade after its predecessor chloroquine was first used to successfully treat malaria in the 1930s.
Authors retract study denouncing hydroxychloroquine
And now, the authors of a major study that purported to show that hydroxychloroquine is “dangerous for hospitalized covid-19 patients” are retracting their conclusion, saying they “can no longer vouch for the veracity of the primary data sources.”
The study first appeared in the medical journal The Lancet, which in 2010 retracted a 12-year-old article that falsely linked the MMR vaccine to autism.
Malaria drugs gained prominence in early days of virus
Back in February 2020, when we first started calling the Wuhan coronavirus COVID-19, medical doctors all over the world were trying drugs originally designed for AIDS, Ebola and malaria.
As reported in the LA Times,
“A more unorthodox remedy being tested against the coronavirus in China is chloroquine.
"The drug is intended to treat malaria, a condition caused by a parasite transmitted through a mosquito bite. A limited number of studies suggest the drug can work against SARS. In laboratory tests, it kept COVID-19 from spreading by blocking its method of infecting cells, according to a report last week in the journal Cell Research.”
Media turns against treatment
Trump liked hydroxychloroquine, so the press had to hate it even as countries around the world worked to stockpile the drug.
It's an “unproven drug,” decried The Guardian.
“No benefit, higher death rate in patients taking hydroxychloroquine,” reported CNN.
Satire articles sprang up and it wasn't long until the Fish Tank Cleaner Lady's accidental death turned into a murder investigation.
The Lancet's retraction: Study published without an “independent audit”
Earlier this afternoon, The Lancet released the following retraction issued by the authors chiefly apologizing to “the editors”: