At least 330 COVID-19-related medical papers have been retracted since the coronavirus pandemic began, oftentimes for scientific errors or ethical shortcomings, according to watchdog Retraction Watch.
Many of the papers were published in smaller, less influential publications, although a number were published in the highly-prestigious Lancet and other influential journals like Science. The topics covered in the papers ranged from alternative proposed COVID-19 treatments like ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine to false COVID-19 side effects.
One example of a U-turn from researchers occurred at the University of Manchester, where researchers two years ago asserted that hearing loss could be a result of COVID-19. Now, those researchers admit that was a faulty assumption.
“Research journals have withdrawn well over 300 articles on COVID-19 due to compromised ethical standards and concerns about the publications’ scientific validity.”https://t.co/RbI1EbeHiH
— Michael P Senger (@michaelpsenger) May 30, 2023
Professor Kevin Munro of the University of Manchester audiology department admitted that many COVID-19 studies had been rushed. “There was an urgent need for this carefully conducted clinical and diagnostic study to investigate the long-term effects of Covid-19 on the auditory system. Many previous studies were published rapidly during the pandemic but lacked good scientific rigour,” he said.
One retracted paper published in Science examined the spread of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 in South Africa. It was withdrawn after social media users pointed out that some of the samples used could have been false positives. A number of the retractions were also social science papers, including one that used an inadequate sample size and imbalanced search terms to try and report on COVID-19 vaccine “misinformation” on social media.
Gunnveig Grødeland, a senior researcher at the Institute of Immunology at the University of Oslo, said many withdrawn papers during COVID-19 have been the result of ethical shortcomings.
“It will, of course, be withdrawn when it is found that ethical guidelines have been breached,” she said. In many cases, a lack of informed consent was a reason for retraction. (RELATED: Lockdown Leaders Scramble To Rewrite History)
Not all of the retractions were cutting against the establishment narrative surrounding COVID-19. One paper was retracted for falsely claiming that the vast majority of COVID-19 deaths in the United States were due to other comorbidities, according to Science Direct.