You may have heard that there’s been some controversy about the use of ivermectin for the treatment of COVID-19.
I’m not going to go over the evidence for or against its use. I just want to look at why a paper on the mechanisms of action of ivermectin against SARS-CoV-2 was recently retracted.
Here’s the full text of the paper.
This paper was about the putative mechanisms and modes of action of ivermectin against SARS-CoV-2. Here’s a schematic of some of the key modes of action, from the paper:
See the statement from the Editor-in-Chief of The Journal of Antibiotics on why this paper was retracted:
Here’s a key part:
“Postpublication review confirmed while the review article appropriately describes the mechanism of action of ivermectin, the cited sources do not appear to show that there is clear clinical evidence of the effect of ivermectin for the treatment of SARS-CoV-2”
The lead author of the paper made this statement:
In other comments she has said:
“If the editor decides to go against #COPE guidelines of publishing and ethics and make personal politically biased decisions, the publishers should intervene.
How could the editor remove an article citing ‘efficacy reasons’ when we spoke about mechanisms?”
It does seem odd to cite “efficacy reasons” when the paper was mainly about mechanisms.
Take a look at Table 2 of the paper to see how many papers on different modes of mechanism were reviewed in this paper:
Apologies the print is so tiny. It was tough to fit all those putative modes of mechanism into one image.
More quotes from the author:
“The post publication review confirmed that we appropriately described the mechanisms and yet the editor decided to twist the narrative? asked us to cite fraudulent studies based on efficacy or face retraction?”
“The journal of antibiotics by Nature forced us to change our stance from ivermectin might work to ‘ivermectin doesn’t work’ or face retraction.
We did not change our stance since we spoke of mechanisms and not efficacy.
So we faced retraction and have no regrets because we do not lack conscience.”
By the way, Satoshi Omura, who won the Nobel prize for discovering ivermectin, is a member of the editorial panel for the journal. He was not consulted about the retraction, according to his colleague Hideaki Hanaki:
The lead author of the retracted paper has also mentioned that both reviewers were against retraction of the article but the Editor in Chief decided otherwise.
Make of that what you will.