Four-star General Edson Pujol — the commander of the Brazilian Army — has become the latest public figure to tout antimalarial drug chloroquine to treat Covid-19. In a video made public yesterday, Gen. Pujol responded to Supreme Court Justice Gilmar Mendes, who had criticized the Armed Forces, saying their support for the Jair Bolsonaro administration is enabling a “genocide” in Brazil.
“My message is one of optimism, for the certainty that we are helping save countless Brazilian lives,” said the general. “The Army’s chemical and pharmaceutical lab has ramped up the production of chloroquine, hand sanitizer […] making [these items] available for the public.”
Chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine, however, are treatments with no proven efficacy against the coronavirus. As a matter of fact, the drugs have been linked to several dangerous side effects, such as elevated blood pressure. President Jair Bolsonaro — who has himself tested positive for Covid-19 — has repeatedly championed the drug as a cure for the disease.
The pandemic has already infected 2.2 million people in Brazil, leading to 82,771 deaths as of July 22. Some states are observing an uptick in the number of hospitalizations, which experts say is an indication that a possible second wave is forming.
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