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How chloroquine came to the center of Brazil’s pandemic response

The inefficacy of chloroquine against Covid-19 is a foregone conclusion in most countries around the world. Except in Bolsonaro's Brazil

chloroquine
Photo: Cadu Rolim/Shutterstock

On Tuesday, the Senate inquiry into the Brazilian government’s pandemic response will grill Mayra Pinheiro, the Health Ministry’s education and labor management secretary. A largely anonymous figure in the government, Ms. Pinheiro is best known by her ignominious nickname: “Captain Chloroquine.” The Brazilian government sought to manufacture and distribute the antimalarial drug as an official strategy to combat the coronavirus, and Ms. Pinheiro was among the leading minds behind this decision.

First touted as a potential coronavirus treatment early in 2020, chloroquine’s efficacy against Covid-19 has long been dismissed by the scientific community in most of the world — with...

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