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White House: US sends 2M doses of hydroxychloroquine, 1K ventilators to Brazil

White House: US sends 2M doses of hydroxychloroquine, 1K ventilators to Brazil
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The White House announced Sunday that the U.S. will send 2 million doses of hydroxychloroquine and 1,000 ventilators to Brazil as the South American country confronts the coronavirus pandemic.

The White House said in a joint statement with the Brazilian government that the doses of hydroxychloroquine will be used as preventative treatment for nurses, doctors and health-care professionals. Brazilian civilians who contract the virus will also be permitted to use the drug.  

The U.S. and Brazil will also launch a joint research effort, including randomized controlled clinical trials, to test hydroxychloroquine's use as a preventive measure and early treatment of COVID-19.

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President TrumpDonald TrumpBiden to sign executive order aimed at increasing voting access Albany Times Union editorial board calls for Cuomo's resignation Advocates warn restrictive voting bills could end Georgia's record turnout MORE and Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro have spoken twice since March, according to the statement.

“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 reads.

The president and his administration have been pushing for the use of hydroxychloroquine to fight and prevent coronavirus, despite it not being proven effective to treat the viral disease. The drug is used to treat malaria and lupus. 

Trump himself announced earlier this month that he was taking the drug to prevent coronavirus. But the country’s top infectious disease expert Anthony FauciAnthony FauciSunday shows preview: Manchin makes the rounds after pivotal role in coronavirus relief debate Overnight Defense: White House open to reforming war powers | Army base might house migrant children | Fauci scolds military on vaccine Overnight Health Care: CDC study links masks to fewer COVID-19 deaths | Relief debate stalls in Senate | Biden faces criticism over push to vaccinate teachers MORE told CNN last week that the drug does not work to treat COVID-19.

Health experts have also warned of hydroxychloroquine's potential side effects, including a higher risk of developing an irregular heartbeat. 

A study published last week that examined 96,000 COVID-19 patients discovered those who took the drug had a higher risk of dying than those who didn’t. After that study was released, the World Health Organization temporarily stopped its clinical trials of the drug as a COVID-19 treatment. 

Brazil is being hit hard by the coronavirus this month as it has counted almost 500,000 confirmed cases, the second-most of any country behind the U.S.’s more than 1.7 million. At least 27,878 people have died from COVID-19 in Brazil, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.