"Today's preliminary results from the RECOVERY trial are quite clear - hydroxychloroquine does not reduce the risk of death among hospitalized patients with this new disease", University of Oxford epidemiologist Martin Landray, one of the study's leaders, said in a statement.
"It caused people to stop what they're doing (and) delay the high quality science in order to sort out whether this initial paper was accurate or inaccurate" said Derek Exner, Associate Dean of Clinical Trials at the University of Calgary Cummings School of Medicine.
Following the publishing of the study, the World Health Organisation (WHO) - which has been defunded by the White House amid the coronavirus pandemic - initially halted their trials of the malaria drug as a coronavirus treatment, but in the wake of the new findings have resumed trials on Wednesday.
World Health Organization officials said earlier this week its trial of hydroxychloroquine was restarting based on advice from experts and some groups, including British researchers conducting a large trial analyzing the drug, never paused their work.
In response to a request from the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency, the independent Data Monitoring Committee conducted a further review of the data and recommended that the chief investigators review the unblinded data on the hydroxychloroquine arm of the trial.
Three authors of a large study that last month found antimalarials provided no benefit to treating Covid-19 infections, while increasing the risk of heart problems and death, retracted their findings.
Whether hydroxychloroquine is safe or not is a separate issue to its efficacy in thwarting COVID-19 of course, and on the latter the jury is still very much out.
Hydroxychloroquine received global attention after being promoted by Donald Trump, and then controversy after studies on it were retracted.
The authors, according to the report, said that Surgisphere's client contracts did not allow the private contractor to transfer some data that could violate the company's agreement with the clients it had.
Authors of both papers said they could no longer vouch for the data's accuracy.
That is why the data from the Recovery trial is crucial.
Nearly immediately after the study's publication, critics raised questions about the data and analysis provided by a private company, Chicago-based Surgisphere Corp. and its founder, Sepan Desai. Christianah Adeyeye, said Nigeria would continue with the trial of the drug. "They were unable to complete an independent audit of the data underpinning their analysis", the retraction notice in The Lancet reads.