Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro | Commons
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New Delhi: Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi for facilitating export of raw materials to Brazil for production of anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine, seen as a possible cure for COVID-19.

In his address to the nation on Wednesday, Bolsonaro said Brazil will receive the ingredients from India for production of hydroxychloroquine on Saturday, and thanked Modi for the “timely help”.

“We have more good news. As an outcome of my direct conversation with Prime Minister of India, we will receive, by Saturday, raw materials to continue our production of Hydroxychloroquine so that we can treat patients of COVID-19 as well as of lupus, malaria, and arthritis,” he said.

“I thank Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the people of India for such timely help to the people of Brazil,” the Brazilian leader said.

US President Donald Trump has also thanked Modi for allowing the export of the drug to the US and said India’s help during the crisis will not be forgotten.

On March 25, India banned export of hydroxychloroquine in the midst of views in some quarters that the drug could be used to fight COVID-19. India is the largest exporter of the drug. The ban was partially lifted on Tuesday.

Modi and Bolsonaro had a telephonic conversation on April 4 during which the Brazilian leader requested Modi to allow export of the drug as well as raw materials for its production in Brazil.

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Also read: Review cautions how hydroxychloroquine could be potentially harmful for treating Covid-19


Separately, in a letter to Modi on Tuesday, Bolsonaro mentioned that two Brazilian laboratories, EMS and Apsen, have been importing raw materials from India for several years to produce hydroxychloroquine and that Brazil’s internal supply of the drug depends on its production by the two firms.

Bolsonaro requested Modi to ensure that Brazil gets supply of the raw materials ordered prior to imposition of the ban on hydroxychloroquine.

In the letter to Modi, the Brazilian leader invoked ancient Indian epic, Ramayana, mentioning the story of how Lord Hanuman brought a holy medicine from the Himalayas to save the life of Laxmana.

Brazil, the largest country in Latin America, has recorded close to 14,000 coronavirus cases and over 660 deaths in the infection. Globally, the virus has killed over 75,000 people and infected more than 13 lakh.

Bolsonaro said Brazil hopes that use of the hydroxychloroquine will help in treatment of the virus infected people in his country.

“Like many other countries, Brazil places hope in the use of hydroxychloroquine as an effective means to treat patients who have contracted COVID-19,” the Brazilian leader wrote in the letter.

The Brazilian leader also referred to partnership between the two countries in the pharmaceutical sector, adding leading Brazilian pharmaceutical laboratories have a “solid and long” partnership with Indian laboratories.

Scientists and the medical fraternity are racing against time to find a vaccine and a therapeutic solution to the infection that originated in the central Chinese city of Wuhan in December.

Hydroxychloroquine has been identified by the US Food and Drug Administration as a possible treatment for the COVID-19 and it is being tested on more than 1,500 coronavirus patients in New York.

India manufactures 70 per cent of the world’s supply of hydroxychloroquine, according to Indian Pharmaceutical Alliance (IPA) secretary-general Sudarshan Jain.

A sizeable number of countries have requested India to supply hydroxychloroquine to fight the coronavirus pandemic.


Also read: Vaccine candidates from engineered viruses and ancient tobacco plants — latest on Covid-19


 

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