He was one of 25 people expected to receive the National Order of Scientific Merit, an award created in 1992 in Brazil to honor the authors of the most important contributions to science and technology. But Marcus Lacerda, who carried out one of the first studies on the ineffectiveness of chloroquine in the fight against the coronavirus, was removed from the list of recipients by President Jair Bolsonaro (along with Adele Benzaken, fired from head of the HIV-AIDS department in 2019). The decision of the far-right head of state, a great defender of chloroquine, caused an uproar in Brazil, and the decision of twenty-one researchers to refuse their medals. “This is another clear demonstration of the persecution of scientists”, they write in an open letter, denouncing “A strategy of systematic attack on science and technology” from the current Brazilian government.
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