BRASILIA | Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro estimated on Monday that hydroxychloroquine could have saved many lives in Brazil, where the coronavirus epidemic has killed nearly 115,000 people in six months.
• Read also: All developments in the COVID-19 pandemic
Mr. Bolsonaro was speaking at the Presidential Palace of Planalto, in front of doctors belonging to the group of “volunteer doctors”, on the occasion of the launch of the plan “Brazil in the process of defeating COVID-19”.
The group of “volunteer doctors”, which according to their spokesperson has 10,000 members in the 27 states of the country, enthusiastically defended hydroxychloroquine combined with other drugs to fight against the coronavirus.
“You have saved, as I understand it, thousands and thousands of lives in Brazil. If hydroxychloroquine had not been politicized, many more lives could have been saved, ”said Jair Bolsonaro.
The molecule has however been deemed ineffective and in some cases dangerous in the face of COVID-19 by several scientific studies.
“We have learned (…) that by attacking the virus from its initial stage, using simple drugs like hydroxychloroquine, along with azithromycin (an antibiotic) and other drugs, the disease weakens and (this) prevents the majority of cases from getting worse, ”said the anesthetist Luciano Dias de Azevedo, who heads the group.
“Our pretty and beautiful hydroxychloroquine (…) succeeded in reducing the damage of COVID-19 (…). Brazilian people, do not be afraid of this drug, ”said a doctor, Raissa de Melo Soares.
Bolsonaro, 65, attributed his recovery from his coronavirus contamination in July to his treatment of hydroxychloroquine, of which he had brandished a box in front of his supporters. “I want to congratulate you,” he told the prescribing doctors.
After the successive departure of two ministers of Health hostile to the molecule, Jair Bolsonaro had succeeded in requiring that hydroxychloroquine be offered to mild patients in hospitals across the country.
Brazil is the second most affected country in the world by the coronavirus, with some 3.6 million people infected since the start of the pandemic and more than 115,000 dead, according to official figures considered largely underestimated by the community scientist.