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Health Ministry goes ahead with changes in chloroquine protocol

. May 20, 2020
chloroquine First Lady Michelle Bolsonaro and President Jair Bolsonaro. Photo: Carolina Antunes/PR First Lady Michelle Bolsonaro and President Jair Bolsonaro. Photo: Carolina Antunes/PR

Brazil’s Health Ministry has followed President Jair Bolsonaro’s wishes and published a new protocol for the use of antimalarial drug chloroquine — now greenlit for mild as well as severe cases. However, the department’s own document acknowledges that “there is no robust evidence allowing the recommendation of specific pharmacological treatments for Covid-19.”

On the market for decades, chloroquine is traditionally used to treat malaria and lupus. Clinical trials and academic research done so far suggest that its efficacy against the coronavirus is minimal, and Brazilian researchers link high doses of chloroquine to mortality. Similar studies were published abroad. In April, The Washington Post reported on a study by the U.S. Veterans Affairs that identified higher death rates in the groups treated with chloroquine, compared to those who did not receive the drug.

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Gustavo Ribeiro

An award-winning journalist, Gustavo has extensive experience covering Brazilian politics and international affairs. He has been featured across Brazilian and French media outlets and founded The Brazilian Report in 2017. He holds a master’s degree in Political Science and Latin American studies from Panthéon-Sorbonne University in Paris.

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