Brazilian Scientists to Address Senate Commission on Technical Aspects of the Fight against Covid-19

Senate Commission, which supervises government management before Covid-19.
Senate Commission, which supervises government management before Covid-19. Photo: Prensa Latina

Brasilia: The Senate commission, which oversees the government’s management of Covid-19, will hear today from two renowned scientists on technical aspects of fighting the disease in Brazil, such as the use of the drug chloroquine.

According to the Senate Agency, the presence of the scholars Natalia Pasternak and Cláudio Maierovitch on the board meets the requirements approved by the parliamentarians Renan Calheiros, Randolfe Rodrigues, Humberto Costa, Marcos do Val, the latter only in the case of the microbiologist.

The congressional representatives cite the national and international public and academic trajectory of the professionals in their arguments and allege that they are capable of clarifying to the country on the best way to face the Covid-19 pandemic.

Pasternak has a degree in biological sciences from the Institute of Biosciences of the University of Sao Paulo and has a doctorate and a post-doctorate in microbiology in the area of ​​molecular genetics of bacteria from the Institute of Biomedical Sciences of that higher study center.

Maiverovicth is a health physician, specialist in public policy and government management, and a master’s degree in preventive and social medicine.

He also coordinates the Center for Epidemiology and Health Surveillance of the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation (Fiocruz Brasilia) and served as president of the National Health Surveillance Agency between 2003 and 2008.

The divergences on the use of chloroquine in patients infected by the pathogen, widely defended by President Jair Bolsonaro, weighed on the decision to leave the Ministry of Health of the former holders of the portfolio Luiz Henrique Mandetta and Nelson Teich, according to statements they gave in May to the ICC.

Teich explained that chloroquine is a drug with risky side effects, without concrete data on its real benefits in the treatment of Covid-19 and the indiscriminate and inappropriate regimen on the part of the population is concerned.

Its use as an initial procedure was widely defended June 1 in the commission by the oncologist and immunologist Nise Yamaguchi.

During his hearing, Senator Humberto Costa recalled that, from March 2020 to March 2021, 52 million tablets of four drugs included in the so-called anti-Covid kit were sold, of which 32 million were hydroxychloroquine.

According to him taking into account such figures, it would be expected fewer deaths (more than 480 thousand) in the South American giant that has 2.7 percent of the world population and 13 of the lives lost by Covid-19, if the medication was effective.

Yamaguchi was an important voice for this misconception by Bolsonaro that “led Brazil to this economic and social tragedy,” Costa said.

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