Brazil Allows Anti-Malarial Drug For All Coronavirus Patients

Brazil Allows Anti-Malarial Drug For All Coronavirus Patients
Brazil said patients with even mild coronavirus symptoms can take hydroxychloroquine after the country saw an increase in coronavirus deaths.

In Brazil, patients with mild coronavirus symptoms will now be able to take chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine, despite warnings from health professionals. 

Before, chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine were reserved for only severe cases. But on Wednesday, the Brazilian Ministry of Health loosened its protocols after President Jair Bolsonaro urged the ministry to expand its guidelines. 

A doctor must still prescribe the medication, and patients will have to confirm in writing that they understand the risks associated with it. 

The recommendation also comes after the country saw its highest number of coronavirus deaths in 24 hours: The virus killed more than 1,000 people on Tuesday.

The number of coronavirus cases in the country continue to rise. Brazil is now the country with the third-most coronavirus cases in the world. Despite this, Bolsonaro has repeatedly fought to end social distancing guidelines and restart the economy.

Brazil's health minister resigned last week over the new guidelines. And his predecessor was fired because of disagreements over how to contain the outbreak. 

Bolsonaro reportedly keeps a supply of the anti-malarial drug for his 93-year-old mother in case she gets infected, but admitted there is no scientific evidence that chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine can actually treat COVID-19. 

According to the ministry's new guidelines, the anti-malarial drug can cause serious side effects like organ failure. 

Contains footage from CNN.