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Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro has announced that the country’s public medical system has come up with what he described as a “miracle” drug that he claimed is “100 per cent effective in neutralising Covid”, James Badcock reports from Madrid.

Speaking on television, Mr Maduro held up a vial of a medicine called Carvativir, which he claimed had proven to be a complete remedy against Covid-19 during nine months of research and clinical trials on patients.

“Ten drops under the tongue every four hours and the miracle is produced,” Mr Maduro said, claiming that the “powerful antiviral” had cured all kinds of Covid patients, including those on respirators.

Little, however, is known about the drug, although Mr Maduro said that the Venezuelan authorities would be sending information to the WHO.

Meanwhile, Mr Maduro said Venezuela would start to mass-produce the drug and that it would be made available to countries who belong to the ALBA bloc of countries, including Cuba, Bolivia and Nicaragua.

But there is likely to be considerable scepticism towards the announcement by a maverick leader criticised by much of the international community for shutting down the democratic process in Venezuela as the country’s economy crumbles.

Dr Francisco Marty, an associate professor of medicine at one of Harvard’s teaching hospitals, the Brigham and Women’s Hospital, said in a thread on Twitter analysing the origins of Carvativir that its treatment claim was “unsubstantiated by any clinical data”.