BRASILIA – The Brazilian government announced on Monday that it had obtained “positive results” in an “early” treatment against COVID-19, through the application of the antiparasitic nitazoxanide in patients who have the infectious disease in its initial phase.
The announcement was made in a ceremony led by President Jair Bolsonaro, who recalled that he had defended the treatment of COVID-19 with hydroxychloroquine, which is still not endorsed by the world’s scientific community, and asked people not to distrust the possibilities that nitazoxanide can offer.
The results were presented by doctor Patricia Rocco, coordinator of the study and specialist in lung diseases with more than 30 years of experience, who said at the ceremony that the treatment showed that nitazoxanide was “effective” in reducing the viral load of patients who had already contracted COVID-19.
She explained that between June and August, 1,575 volunteers who had coronavirus in an initial phase were treated with this drug and in 95 percent of cases there was a reduction in viral load “without damage to lung cells” or other collateral problems.
Rocco said the patients received 500 milligrams of nitazoxanide three times a day for five days, but declined to provide further details on the treatment because the study results have been referred to an international “major scientific journal” for examination.
The Minister of Science and Technology, Marcos Pontes, said that “science is the only weapon we have to fight the virus,” and appreciated the effort made by the promoters of the study.
“We have a scientifically proven medication that can reduce the viral load. This means, in practice, that it reduces the contagion,” said Pontes.
“It is a low-cost drug, it works to reduce viral load, but it is not preventive, so it cannot be used before” a person contracts COVID-19, Pontes said.