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A survey by Fiocruz Amazônia in partnership with the Federal University of Amazonas (Ufam) in Manaus observed a relationship between early treatment and rates of infection by Covid-19. Interestingly, the rates were higher among those who claim to have taken preventive drugs.

The researchers analyzed blood samples from 3.046 residents of Manaus. The idea was to detect the presence of antibodies against Covid-19. In addition, the volunteers filled out a form with social information, which allowed them to trace their socioeconomic profile.

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The medical consensus is that there is no drug to treat or prevent infection with the new coronavirus. Even so, early treatment is advocated by president Jair Bolsonaro and recommended by the Ministry of Health.

Likewise, an online survey by the Brazilian Medical Association (AMB), with more than 3.800 doctors, found that about 1/3 of respondents believes in some form of early treatment.

ivermectin for early treatment of Covid-19 infection
There is no evidence regarding the effectiveness of early treatment. Credits: adrianosiker.com/Shutterstock

Relationship between early treatment and Covid-19 infection

Among the volunteers who did not take the drugs considered preventive, 25,99% had antibodies against the new coronavirus. In contrast, the rate of Covid-19 infection rose to 38,64% among those who claimed to have undergone early treatment. The most used remedies were paracetamol, ivermectin and azithromycin.

“If I believe that this drug prevents it, what happens? I let my guard down, because I took the medication that I believe protects me ”, explains Jaila Dias Borges, professor at Ufam and co-author of the article. "I'm not going to be so concerned with non-pharmacological interventions [like wearing masks and social distance] because I'm taking something I believe in."

New outbreak and high infection rates of Covid-19 in Manaus
Manaus had high rates of Covid-19 infection earlier this year. Credits: Ingrid Anne / Public Photos

Other findings

In addition, the results indicate that the pandemic affects especially low-income individuals who share housing. More than 35% of volunteers with an income of up to three minimum wages had antibodies against the new coronavirus. However, the infection rate drops 10% among those who receive six or more minimum wages.

Regarding housing, one out of four adults living alone had antibodies. On the other hand, the Covid-19 infection rate reached 34% among those who live with four or more adults and 43% when the house is shared with three or more children.

Pritesh Lalwani, a researcher at the Leônidas Institute and Maria Deane da Fiocruz and co-author of the study, points out that there is a very strong relationship with poverty. “Being poor is a risk factor. Another is aggregation at home: when you have a lot of people at home, more than four adults or more than three children, this greatly increases the risk [of contracting the disease] ”.

Street: El País