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U.S. to send 2M doses of hydroxychloroquine to Brazil

President Donald Trump shakes hands with Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro in the Rose Garden of the White House on March 19, 2019. File Photo by Pat Benic/UPI
President Donald Trump shakes hands with Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro in the Rose Garden of the White House on March 19, 2019. File Photo by Pat Benic/UPI | License Photo

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 Sunday, the two nations 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. A thousand ventilators will also be sent.

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The United States and Brazil 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.

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President Donald Trump and President Jair Bolsonaro have spoken twice since March concerning the pandemic.

The drug has been noted for weeks as a possible treatment for COVID-19. Trump said last month he'd been taking hydroxychloroquine to fend off the coronavirus.

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Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and a leader of of Trump's coronavirus task force, said last week hydroxychloroquine is not an effective treatment against the coronavirus disease.

"The scientific data is really quite evident now about the lack of efficacy," Fauci said.

A study in The Lancet showed the drug offers no clinical benefit for COVID-19 patients but possibly increased serious heart-related side effects. But that study was retracted by the authors on Thursday over questions of the validity of the data.

More than 6 million people worldwide have been infected and 370,000 have died due to the virus since the start of the pandemic, according to Johns Hopkins University.

The United States has the most cases, about 1.8 million, followed by Brazil with more than a half-million.

This story has been updated to reflect that a study published in The Lancet was retracted.

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A health worker with the Israeli national emergency service, Magen David Adam, wears protective gear while taking swabs to test for COVID-19 at a drive-through testing center in East Jerusalem on August 26. Photo by Debbie Hill/UPI | License Photo

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