Publisher investigating “serious concerns” about article on ivermectin, COVID, and the microbiome

Sabine Hazan

The publisher Frontiers has published an expression of concern for an article that proposed “ivermectin protects against COVID-19” via effects on the microbiome.  

The article, “Microbiome-Based Hypothesis on Ivermectin’s Mechanism in COVID-19: Ivermectin Feeds Bifidobacteria to Boost Immunity,” was published in July 2022 in Frontiers in Microbiology. The sole author, Sabine Hazan, is affiliated with ProgenaBiome, a company based in Ventura, Calif.  that “spearheads the movement of validating, verifying, and clinically applying its sequencing data, to better understand the microbiome.” 

The abstract of the article stated: 

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Buzzy Lancet long COVID paper under investigation for ‘data errors’

An early and influential paper on long COVID that appeared in The Lancet has been flagged with an expression of concern while the journal investigates “data errors” brought to light by a reader. 

An editorial that accompanied the paper when it was published in January of last year described it as “the first large cohort study with 6-months’ follow-up” of people hospitalized with COVID-19. The article has received plenty of attention since then. 

Titled “6-month consequences of COVID-19 in patients discharged from hospital: a cohort study,” the paper has been cited nearly 1,600 times, according to Clarivate’s Web of Science. Altmetric finds references to it in multiple documents from the World Health Organization.  

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Journal editor in chief who published controversial Covid papers resigns

Jose L. Domingo

The editor in chief of the journal Food and Chemical Toxicology (FCT) has resigned with more than a year left of his term, according to an email announcing his move to colleagues. 

In the email, first reproduced in Steve Kirsch’s Substack newsletter, the editor, Jose L. Domingo, cited “deep discrepancies” with the journal’s direction under publisher Elsevier as the reason for his early resignation. He shared the email with us when we reached out for comment. 

Domingo, a professor of toxicology and environmental Health at the Universitat Rovira i Virgili in Spain, listed three main points of contention: an agreement for the journal to publish documents for the Research Institute for Fragrance Materials, which Domingo believed to be a “drag” on the journal’s impact factor; FCT’s recent designation as the official journal of the Chinese Society of Toxicology; and a February editorial he wrote requesting submissions “on the potential toxic effects of COVID-19 vaccines.” 

He wrote: 

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Journal says ivermectin study met standard for ‘credible science’

Flavio Cadegiani

A journal editor is defending his decision to publish a new paper showing that ivermectin can prevent Covid-19, despite more than a dozen retractions of such papers from the literature.

The article, “Regular Use of Ivermectin as Prophylaxis for COVID-19 Led Up to a 92% Reduction in COVID-19 Mortality Rate in a Dose-Response Manner: Results of a Prospective Observational Study of a Strictly Controlled Population of 88,012 Subjects,” appeared in Cureus August 31. 

The authors included Pierre Kory, a critical care specialist better known as the leader of the   Front-Line Covid-19 Critical Care Alliance, based in Madison, Wis.  Kory has been an active promoter of the use of ivermectin and other questionable remedies for  Covid-19 – even testifying before Congress about his ideas – although his most high-profile paper on the topic was retracted last November. 

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Guest post: What happened when we tried to get a paper claiming ‘billions of lives are potentially at risk’ from COVID-19 vaccines retracted

In February, the editor-in-chief of Food and Chemical Toxicology published an editorial calling for “Papers on potential toxic effects of COVID-19 vaccines.” Following this call, in April 2022, the journal – no stranger to Retraction Watch readers –  published an article titled “Innate immune suppression by SARS-CoV-2 mRNA vaccinations: The role of G-quadruplexes, exosomes, and MicroRNAs.” 

At more than 16,000 words and more than 200 references, the article was submitted on February 9th and accepted on April 8th. It claims that “billions of lives are potentially at risk” with Covid-19 vaccines. 

Such an important statement should be supported by facts. But this is not at all the case. And yet the paper has been shared more than 45,000 times on social media, in ways that decrease trust in science and the COVID-19 vaccine, despite the robust evidence that it is both safe and efficient.

Continue reading Guest post: What happened when we tried to get a paper claiming ‘billions of lives are potentially at risk’ from COVID-19 vaccines retracted

‘One would not want to tarnish another journal’: Why a republished COVID-19 masks study doesn’t say it was retracted

Harald Walach

When a retracted paper is republished in a new journal, should it note the retraction?

A few readers have asked us that question as they forwarded a paper published in May in Environmental Research, an Elsevier title. The study, “Carbon dioxide rises beyond acceptable safety levels in children under nose and mouth covering: Results of an experimental measurement study in healthy children,” bore striking similarities to a paper by the same authors that was retracted from JAMA Pediatrics in July 2021. 

That retraction was the second for the paper’s first author, Harald Walach, who also lost an affiliation with a university in Poland. Walach tells us that he let the editor know about the JAMA Pediatrics retraction before he submitted the manuscript:

Continue reading ‘One would not want to tarnish another journal’: Why a republished COVID-19 masks study doesn’t say it was retracted

250th COVID-19 retraction is for faked ethics approval

By Nick Youngson

Researchers in Iran have lost a paper on Covid-19 infection in a two-month-old boy after the journal learned that they’d fabricated ethics approval for the article. 

It’s the 250th Covid-19 retraction by our count.

“Coronavirus disease 2019 in a 2-month-old male infant: a case report from Iran” appeared in December 2020 in Clinical and Experimental Pediatrics. The senior author of the paper was Sajjad Ahmadpour, of the Gastroenterology and Hepatology Diseases Research Center at Qom University of Medical Sciences.

According to the retraction notice (which doesn’t appear in the expected place but can be found here):

Continue reading 250th COVID-19 retraction is for faked ethics approval

Researcher attacks journal for retracting his paper on COVID-19 drug

Flavio Cadegiani

A journal has retracted a paper reporting the results of a clinical trial in which a drug cut COVID-19 hospitalization for men by 90%. 

The research group’s other work has attracted a lot of attention in Brazil – including praise from  president Jair Bolsonaro and criticism from research regulators – for their dramatic results. In a Twitter thread, one of the authors claimed, without evidence, that the journal “may have received bribery to persecute us and retract our study.”

The article, “Proxalutamide Reduces the Rate of Hospitalization for COVID-19 Male Outpatients: A Randomized Double-Blinded Placebo-Controlled Trial,” was published in Frontiers in Medicine last July and has been cited 15 times, according to Clarivate’s Web of Science. 

The study quickly attracted criticism, according to the retraction notice

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AHA “regrets any confusion” and is reviewing meeting policies after outcry over Covid-19 vaccine abstract

Days after a leading heart journal issued an expression of concern for a meeting abstract suggesting that vaccines against Covid-19 may cause cardiac damage, its publisher, the American Heart Association (AHA), says it is reviewing how it screens such submissions. 

As we reported late last month, “Mrna COVID Vaccines Dramatically Increase Endothelial Inflammatory Markers and ACS Risk as Measured by the PULS Cardiac Test: a Warning,” was presented at the AHA’s 2021 Scientific Sessions in mid-November and was published in Circulation

The author was Steven Gundry, a cardiac surgeon by training who now sells dietary supplements on his website. Gundry also sees patients at the Center for Restorative Medicine and International Heart & Lung Institute in California and offers advice on YouTube. (His critics say what Gundry peddles costs much more than it’s worth.)

After an outcry, Circulation flagged the published poster with the following notice

Continue reading AHA “regrets any confusion” and is reviewing meeting policies after outcry over Covid-19 vaccine abstract

What it takes to correct the record: Autopsy of a COVID-19 corrigendum

Richard Jones

We’ve been keeping track of retracted coronavirus papers, but what about corrections? Here’s a guest post from Richard Jones of Cardiff University about a paper that earned widespread media coverage but turned out to be wrong.

According to our best knowledge, this is the first report on COVID-19 infection and death among medical personnel in a Forensic Medicine unit.

So ended a letter from Thailand to the Journal of Forensic and Legal Medicine, accepted on 9th April 2020 within 3 days of receipt, and published as an ubiquitous “Pre-Proof.” 

The authors of that letter stated that there had been only two COVID-19 patients amongst medical personnel in Thailand at that time, one of whom was a “forensic medicine professional” working in Bangkok. 

Continue reading What it takes to correct the record: Autopsy of a COVID-19 corrigendum