Brazil’s Science and Technology Minister Marcos Pontes announced that the country will begin tests using a drug that showed a reported 94-percent effectiveness rate against Covid-19 during in vitro tests. Claiming that they intend to avoid the public making runs on Brazilian pharmacies, the ministry refused to disclose the name of the medication. After world leaders such as Donald Trump and Jair Bolsonaro endorsed the use of antimalarial drug chloroquine to treat Covid-19, the drug disappeared from drugstore shelves across the country.
Mr. Pontes said the medicine is produced with substances found in Brazil, which would shield the country from foreign dependence on supply — and has apparently presented few side effects.
Tests are being conducted by 40 scientists from the National Biosciences Laboratory. Before arriving at the mystery substance, they experimented with 2,000 drugs that could inhibit the replication of the virus. The study combines molecular and structural biology, scientific computing, chemoinformatics, and artificial intelligence. Meanwhile, the Army was instructed to produce 2 million pills of chloroquine, even though the substance’s efficacy remains unproven.