June 1 (UPI) — The White House announced it will send Brazil 2 million doses of hydroxychloroquine in its fight against the coronavirus.
In a joint statement published Sunday, the two countries said the drug used to treat lupus and malaria will be administered in Brazil to those infected with COVID-19 and to healthcare professionals as a prophylactic.
One-thousand ventilators will also be sent to Brazil, it said.
The two countries also announced a joint research effort of randomized controlled clinical trials of the drug to “help further evaluate the safety and efficacy of HCQ for both prophylaxis and the early treatment of the coronavirus.”
“Going forward, the United States and Brazil will remain in close coordination in the shared fight against the coronavirus pandemic and the ongoing regional response to safeguard public health, further limit the spread of the coronavirus, advance the early development of a vaccine and save lives,” the statement said.
President Donald Trump and President Jair Bolsonaro have spoken twice since March concerning the pandemic.
The drug has been in the spotlight since Trump and others have touted the lupus and malaria drug as a potential treatment for COVID-19. In mid-May, Trump revealed he had been taking the medication to fend off catching the coronavirus, despite it being an unproven remedy for the disease.
“I have taken it for about a week and a half now, and I’m still here,” he told reporters May 18 in Washington, D.C. “I’m still here.”
However, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and a member of Trump’s coronavirus task force, said last week that it’s not an effective treatment against the virus.
“The scientific data is really quite evident now about the lack of efficacy,” Fauci said.
Meanwhile, a new study published last month in The Lancet has shown that the drug offers no clinical benefit for people with COVID-19 while possibly causing serious heart-related side effects.
Since the virus emerged in early December in the central Chinese city of Wuhan last year, more than 6 million people worldwide have been infected, resulting in more than 370,000 deaths, according to a live tracker of the virus by Johns Hopkins University.
The United States leads the world in cases with roughly 1.8 million infections followed by Brazil, which has recorded more than half a million.