Grenada and SVG Sourcing Cuban Treatment Drug for COVID-19

by: - March 18, 2020
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Grenada says it is in discussions with Cuba to source a new drug developed by the Spanish nation proven effective in treating COVID19.

Health Minister, Nickolas Steele reported, “We have reached out and discussed with the government of Cuba through their embassy here and are in the process of ensuring that that medication is on island shortly.”

He added, “I want to be specific and say that it is a new drug but we have decided to make sure that we have all the tools possible that we can use once our challenges become greater.”

Grenada does not have any confirmed cases of COVID19 but issued a statement concerning a UK visitor who visited the island and later tested positive in St Lucia.

According to a report from Carib News Update, St Vincent and the Grenadines is also looking to source the drug and Trinidad and Tobago has requested more information.

(Telesur English) The Cuban pharmaceutical industry guaranteed Saturday the production of the 22 drugs used for the treatment of the COVID-19 coronavirus, especially Interferon Alpha 2B, which has proven to be very effective in fighting the disease.

“We currently have requests from a large number of countries, which we are responding to because we have sufficient capacity, without putting at risk the amounts required by the country,” the Director of BioCubaFarma Eduardo Martinez Diaz said.

The Recombinant Human Interferon Alpha 2B, produced in Cuba, as well as another group of medications, are part of the protocol to care for patients with this disease and any complications that may arise.

Martinez Diaz assured that the Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (CIGB) has “all the capabilities to supply this antiviral to the national health system.”

Cuba has been supplying the drug, which is produced with Cuban technology at the Changchun Heber Biological Technology joint venture, located in Jilin, China.

It is currently used in vulnerable and health care personnel as a preventive measure, as well as in patients with COVID-19 in the form of a nebulization, as it is a quick route to reach the lungs and act in the early stages of the infection, the officials highlighted.

In relation to this therapeutic drug, the deputy director of the CIGB Marta Ayala Avila explained that interferons are molecules that the body itself produces in response to viral attacks, making them the first organic response of the immune system to combat disease.

In previous outbreaks of the coronavirus, SARS in 2002 and MERS in 2012, interferons were also being used for the care and treatment of infected people.

Later published studies showed that these viruses, instead of inducing the creation of interferon in the body, decrease the production of these molecules, hence the effectiveness of the drug in treating COVID-19.

“We have in inventory the product that would be equivalent, practically, to the amount necessary to treat the total of all the infected that occurred in China,” CIGB Director-General  Eulogio Pimentel Vazquez affirmed.