Brazil's health ministry will expand the use of the antimalaria drug hydroxychloroquine to treat the flu-like coronavirus disease 2019, the country's president declared Tuesday.
The announcement by Jair Bolsonaro came on the same day Brazil's daily death count reached a record high 1,179, a 34% jump from the previous high of 881 on May 12, Newsweek reported.
It also came as Brazil surpassed Britain for third among countries with most confirmed cases of COVID-19 behind the United States and Russia. Brazil had 291,579 confirmed cases as of Wednesday, according to Johns Hopkins University's Center for Systems Science and Engineering.
Bolsanaro said Interim Health Minister Eduardo Pazuello was to sign new guidelines for the use of hydroxychloroquine Wednesday.
Pazuello was named to the post after his predecessor, Nelson Teich, resigned Friday after resisting expanded use of the drug, which has had anecdotal success for treating COVID-19 but has not been proven clinically effective. The U.S. National Institutes of Health announced May 14 it had begun a clinical trial to test its effectiveness.
Bolsonaro has been a strong proponent of the use of hydroxychloroquine to treat COVID-19, saying he keeps an emergency box of the drug at home for his 93-year-old mother. U.S. President Donald Trump also has promoted use of the drug, telling reporters he had been taking a regimen to ward off COVID-19. He said he plans to stop taking the drug in "a day or two."
Trump has also been taking a daily dose of zinc and an initial dose of the antibiotic azithromycin.
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