Bik And Raoult Hydroxychloroquine Feud Exposes Tensions

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Till spring 2020, Raoult used to be easiest referred to as an eminent microbiologist who based and heads the analysis medical institution Institut Hospitalo-Universitaire Méditerranée An infection, or IHU. He has found out or codiscovered dozens of recent micro organism — a bunch of them are named Raoultella — in addition to large viruses. Via many accounts, his in depth achieve within the medical group is matched by way of his mood: In 2012, Science mag described him as “imaginative, rebellious, and regularly disdainful.” “He could make lifestyles exhausting for you,” one researcher mentioned.

A handful of Raoult’s hundreds of publications have additionally fallen underneath scrutiny. In 2006, the American Society for Microbiology banned him and 4 coauthors from its journals for a yr over a “misrepresentation of knowledge” after a reviewer noticed figures that had been an identical, however shouldn’t were, throughout two variations of a submitted manuscript. (Raoult objected to the ban, announcing he wasn’t at fault.) And a few researchers spotted that Raoult used to be on one-third of all papers to ever seem in one magazine, which used to be staffed by way of a few of his collaborators.

Final yr, Raoult’s crew issued a correction to a 2018 find out about, and every other from 2013 used to be retracted altogether (the magazine mentioned that Raoult may just now not be reached when it used to be making its resolution). Each contained it appears duplicated or in a different way suspect pictures, first noticed by way of Bik, who has flagged greater than 60 different research of his on PubPeer for doable problems.

And by way of July of final yr, his maximum notorious find out about were seemed over by way of much more out of doors professionals commissioned by way of the magazine’s publishers. The scientists didn’t grasp again. “Gross methodological shortcomings,” “non-informative,” and “totally irresponsible,” one mentioned. Every other staff mentioned it “raised numerous consideration and contributed to a requirement for the drug with out the right proof.”

In spite of acknowledging those flaws, the leaders of the Global Society of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy, which publishes the magazine at the side of Elsevier, opted to not retract the find out about. “We consider, along with the significance of sharing observational knowledge on the peak of a virus, a powerful public medical debate in regards to the paper’s findings in an open and clear model will have to be made to be had,” they mentioned. Round the similar time, a bunch of 500 French infectious illness professionals filed a grievance with native well being officers, accusing Raoult of spreading incorrect information about hydroxychloroquine.

Raoult defended his “seminal paintings,” arguing that the decision for a retraction had “no justification as opposed to the opinion of people that had been fiercely antagonistic to” hydroxychloroquine. At a French Senate listening to that September, he as soon as once more downplayed criticisms of his analysis. Bik had “controlled to seek out 5 mistakes in a complete of three,500 articles,” he mentioned, whilst acknowledging that there have been probably a small choice of different mistakes as smartly. He denied ever committing fraud.

On the Senate listening to, Raoult referred to as Bik a time period that interprets to “head hunter,” a “woman” who were “stalking” him since he used to be “well-known.” And round Thanksgiving, biologist Eric Chabrière, a common collaborator of Raoult’s and a coauthor of the hydroxychloroquine find out about, tweeted that Bik “harasses” and “tries to denigrate” Raoult.

He invoked her previous employment at uBiome, a microbiome-testing startup that the FBI raided in 2019. (Bik, who used to be medical editorial director there till the top of 2018, has mentioned that she used to be by no means wondered and used to be now not concerned within the founders’ alleged scheme to defraud insurers and buyers.) Chabrière additionally accused her of being paid by way of the pharmaceutical business.

“It’s not that i am subsidized by way of any corporate, however you’ll be able to sponsor me at @Patreon,” Bik tweeted again, linking to her account. As she defined to Chabrière, she may be a specialist to universities and publishers who need suspicious papers investigated.

“Glad to research any papers of your institute, too, so long as you pay me :-),” she added.

Over the next months, Chabrière would name her “an actual dung beetle,” “a mercenary who simplest obeys cash,” and an individual “paid to assault and discredit positive goals.” His supporters piled on, occasionally with obscure threats. In the meantime, Raoult referred to as her a “loopy girl” and a “failed researcher” of “medium intelligence.”

Then, on April 30 of this yr, Chabrière tweeted a screenshot of a prison grievance allegedly filed with a public prosecutor in France. It accused her and Barbour, the PubPeer co-organizer, of “ethical harassment,” “tried blackmail,” and “tried extortion.” Her house deal with used to be indexed. The tweet used to be later deleted.





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