Fri. Sep 25th, 2020


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South American country issued with stark warning amid hopeful vaccine trials

3 min read

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Michael Ryan, head of the WHO emergencies programme, said the South American country should do more to integrate its efforts at different levels of government. “We would encourage once more that Brazil continues to fight against the disease, that Brazil links the efforts at federal and at state level in a much more systematic way,” he said.

Brazil should “focus on a comprehensive approach to controlling the disease and doing that in a sustained fashion,” he added.

Brazil is currently the second hardest-hit country by the pandemic after the United States.

On Monday, it recorded 24,052 new confirmed infections and a death toll of 692.

The country’s shocking coronavirus death toll currently stands at 58,385.

Brazil’s president, Jair Bolsonaro, has faced backlash from health authorities over his response to the pandemic crisis.

Mr Bolsonaro made dismissive remarks about the disease, referring to it as a “little flu”, as well as having a stoic attitude toward the country’s death toll.

The Ministry of Health revealed on Monday it had delivered some 4.3 million doses of hydroxychloroquine.

The anti-malaria drug does not have enough evidence to show it is effective against Covid-19 but Mr Bolsonaro has promoted it in various occasions.

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US president Donald Trump also came under fire as he advertised the use of the drug against coronavirus.

In May, he announced he was taking the medication during a during a question-and-answer conference with media outlets at the White House.

“I’m taking hydroxychloroquine,” Trump said.

“I’ve been taking it for the last week and a half. A pill every day.”

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The Food and Drug Administration has issued a warning against the medication’s use for Covid-19.

In an official statement, the FDA wrote: “The FDA is aware of reports of serious heart rhythm problems in patients with COVID-19 treated with hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine, often in combination with azithromycin and other QT prolonging medicines.

“We are also aware of increased use of these medicines through outpatient prescriptions.

“Therefore, we would like to remind health care professionals and patients of the known risks associated with both hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine.

“We will continue to investigate risks associated with the use of hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine for COVID-19 and communicate publicly when we have more information.”

Earlier on Monday Joao Doria, the governor of Brazil’s most populous state, said he expected this week to receive federal regulatory authorisation to begin testing a potential Covid-19 vaccine produced by China’s Sinovac in Sao Paulo.

Brazil’s federal government revealed over the weekend that it had reached a deal to produce another potential vaccine by pharmaceutical firm AstraZeneca with researchers at Oxford University.

Mr Doria said Sao Paulo is not in a competition with the federal government by trialling the Chinese vaccine.

“The more tested and approved vaccines we have, the better,” he said.

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