O Ministry of Health last week announced the app TrateCov to help doctors diagnose patients with signs of COVID-19, suggesting the prescription of drugs based on “strict clinical criteria”. However, a trial version that became public only included drugs without scientific proof against the new coronavirus, such as hydroxychloroquine, ivermectin and azithromycin.
How the Ministry of Health’s TrateCov works
The publicly available TrateCov form has been taken down, but is still available through the Internet Archive. Before being removed, the page was updated with the following warning: “this version of TrateCov is a simulation environment that will be available until the registrations for the registration of health professionals on the referred platform are made and validated”.
TrateCov asks for some data about the patient to suggest a treatment. You need to enter the date of birth, weight, height, comorbidities (such as hypertension, diabetes and asthma) and symptoms (such as fever, headache or nausea).
In addition, it is necessary to inform how many times the person has visited certain places in the past two weeks, including work, public transport, supermarket, bar, beach or party.
Once this is done, the form calculates a severity score: if the score is 6 or higher, it is recommended to order the RT-PCR test and “start early treatment for COVID-19”.
In the test of Tecnoblog, TrateCov recommended a huge dose of remedies, none of which is scientifically proven:
- chloroquine diphosphate 500 mg (6 tablets total)
- hydroxychloroquine 200 mg (12 tablets in total)
- ivermectin 6 mg (30 tablets in total)
- azithromycin 500 mg (5 tablets total)
- doxycycline 100 mg (10 tablets in total)
- zinc sulfate 30 mg (14 tablets in total)
On Twitter, there are several similar reports, and it is not for nothing: the developer Joselito Júnior analyzed the source code of the page and found that chloroquine and similar remedies will always be recommended when there is the option of early treatment, that is, when the score severity is greater than or equal to 6.
In turn, developer Lucio Maciel points out that this score completely ignores the patient’s clinical data, such as age, weight, comorbidities and external activities – it only takes into account the reported symptoms.
In fact, if you say you are 9,000 kg, suffer from all comorbidities (high blood pressure, obesity etc.) and have been to literally 1,000 parties in the past two weeks, but do not point out symptoms, the score will be low and there will be no suggestion of early treatment.
The source code can be accessed through the Internet Archive and through a GitHub repository created by journalist Rodrigo Menegat. He was one of the first to notice that TratCov “only prescribes the COVID-19 kit”.
Medicines don’t work against COVID-19
The Ministry of Health is testing the TrateCov in Manaus, installing tents next to the health posts to enable doctors to use this tool when treating patients arriving with symptoms of COVID-19. The idea is to expand the app to all health units in the capital of Amazonas; and then, for the whole country.
This Tuesday (19), the Brazilian Society of Infectious Diseases (SBI) and the Brazilian Medical Association (ABM) issued a joint note, recalling that “the main medical societies and international public health organizations do not recommend preventive or early treatment with medicines, including Anvisa ”.
According to the two entities, “the best scientific evidence demonstrates that no medication is effective in preventing or‘ early treatment ‘for COVID-19 to date “. They also criticize “denialists who are against vaccines and against scientifically proven preventive measures”, such as social isolation and wearing a mask.
Last week, Twitter hid a post of President Jair Bolsonaro to promote antimalarials as early treatment against the disease. According to the social network, the message violated rules “on the publication of misleading and potentially harmful information related to COVID-19”. Brazil represents 10% of deaths in the world caused by the new coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2).