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  • An Indigenous person wearing a mask reading 'Step out, Bolsonaro' in Brasilia, Brazil, May 21, 2020

    An Indigenous person wearing a mask reading 'Step out, Bolsonaro' in Brasilia, Brazil, May 21, 2020 | Photo: EFE

Published 22 May 2020

The Pan American Organization for Health studies have not reached conclusions that would recommend it either.

The World Health Organization (WHO) does not endorse President Jair Bolsonaro's decision to approve the use of chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine to treat COVID-19 because there is no scientific evidence that these drugs are safe and effective in the fight against that disease.

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Brazil Has 310,921 COVID-19 Confirmed Cases

"Clinical evidence does not support the use of this medication and is not recommended at least until clear clinical trial results are available," the WHO Health Emergencies Program Director Mike Ryan said, adding that the Pan American Organization for Health (PAHO) studies have not reached conclusions that would recommend it either.

On Wednesday, the Brazilian Health Ministry, which is currently led by the Paratrooper General Eduardo Pazuello, published a protocol to treat COVID-19 patients, which recommends the use of chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine in mild cases.

While both drugs are often used in the treatment of malaria and rheumatic diseases, Ryan recalled that there is no evidence to support their utility in preventing coronavirus infection.

The WHO scientist warned that these medications should only be administered under close medical supervision because of the side effects in seriously ill patients, among which are cardiac complications and arrhythmias.

Until Friday morning, Brazil had reported over 310,000 infected, being the third country in the world most affected by the pandemic.

"Most cases are from the Sao Paulo region, but in terms of percentages, the highest rates are found in the Amazon: about 450 infected people per 100,000 inhabitants," the WHO official said.

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