Retracted coronavirus (COVID-19) papers

We’ve been tracking retractions of papers about COVID-19 as part of our database. Here’s a running list, which will be updated as needed.


“Uncanny similarity of unique inserts in the 2019-nCoV spike protein to HIV-1 gp120 and Gag,” bioRxiv preprint published January 31, 2020 and withdrawn February 2, 2020. More context here.
“Epidemiological and clinical features of the 2019 novel coronavirus outbreak in China,” medRxiv preprint published February 11, 2020 and withdrawn February 21, 2020. More context here.
“Chinese medical staff request international medical assistance in fighting against COVID-19,” letter in The Lancet published February 24, 2020 and retracted February 26, 2020. More context here.
“Potential False-Positive Rate Among the ‘Asymptomatic Infected Individuals’ in Close Contacts of COVID-19 Patients,” paper in the Chinese Journal of Epidemiology published March 5, 2020 and retracted a few days later. More context here.
“An epidemiological investigation of 2019 novel coronavirus diseases through aerosol-borne transmission by public transport,” published in early March in Practical Preventive Medicine and retracted sometime in mid-April. More context here.
“First viral replication of Covid-19 identified in the peritoneal dialysis fluid,” published in Bulletin de la Dialyse à Domicile on April 13, 2020, retracted on April 20, 2020. Our coverage here.
“Hydroxychloroquine plus azithromycin: a potential interest in reducing in-hospital morbidity due to COVID-19 pneumonia (HI-ZY-COVID)?” preprint published on medRxiv, May 11, 2020, withdrawn on May 20, 2020. Our coverage here.
“From SARS-CoV to Wuhan 2019-nCoV Outbreak: Similarity of Early Epidemic and Prediction of Future Trends,” preprint posted on bioRxiv, January 25, 2020, withdrawn January 28, 2020.
“Analysis of Ten Microsecond simulation data of SARS-CoV-2 dimeric main protease,” preprint posted on bioRxiv, April 12, 2020, withdrawn April 16, 2020.
“Computational analysis suggests putative intermediate animal hosts of the SARS-CoV-2,” preprint posted on bioRxiv, April 5, 2020, withdrawn April 20, 2020.
“Mental health status and coping strategy of medical workers in China during The COVID-19 outbreak,” preprint posted on medRxiv, February 25, 2020, withdrawn March 7, 2020.
“Mortality of a pregnant patient diagnosed with COVID-19: A case report with clinical, radiological, and histopathological findings,” published in Travel Medicine and Infectious Disease on April 11, 2020, retracted on May 2, 2020. Our coverage here.
“Effectiveness of Surgical and Cotton Masks in Blocking SARS–CoV-2: A Controlled Comparison in 4 Patients,” published on April 6, 2020 in the Annals of Internal Medicine, retracted on June 1, 2020.
“Hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine with or without a macrolide for treatment of COVID-19: a multinational registry analysis,” published in The Lancet on May 22, 2020, subjected to an expression of concern on June 2 ,and retracted on June 4.
“Cardiovascular Disease, Drug Therapy, and Mortality in Covid-19,” published in the New England Journal of Medicine on May 1, 2020, subjected to an expression of concern on June 2, and retracted on June 4.
Temporarily retracted

“Experimental Treatment with Favipiravir for COVID-19: An Open-Label Control Study,” published in Engineering on March 18, 2020 and temporarily retracted, now back online, all without explanation.
“Should sexual practices be discouraged during the pandemic?” Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, published unknown (accepted April 16), retracted on or around May 11. Our coverage here.
Expressions of concern

“Hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin as a treatment of COVID-19: results of an open-label non-randomized clinical trial,” published in International Journal of Microbial Agents on March 20, 2020. More context here and here.

Writing about COVID-19

As well as building up a resource of information and analysis on COVID-19, we want to ensure that we pass on any tips about what can go wrong when writing about this subject: and how to get it right! If you have experience in writing about this area and feel you have advice that would help others, please contact us at:

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