Cuba has guaranteed the availability and productive capacity of 22 medicines for dealing with and treating COVID-19; as well, researchers and scientists from the biotechnology-pharmaceutical industries are currently developing new products.
Havana, Cuba.- Cuba has guaranteed the availability and productive capacity of 22 medicines for dealing with and treating COVID-19 as well as its possible complications, Eduardo Martínez, Biocubafarma president, said today.
Eduardo Martinez explained to local and foreign press that these 22 medicines are part of 300 produced by Biocubafarma, which are the basic ones distributed to healthcare centers and pharmacies across the country. These efforts are now escalating in view of the epidemiological emergency this new coronavirus represents.
Accompanied by directors of pharmaceutical companies and researchers from several scientific centers, Martínez stated that there is no defined treatment for this new virus, but there are instead some previous experiences on drugs already used in other outbreaks, such as Interferon Alfa 2B, successfully applied in China against COVID-19, which has been created and produced by Cuba's Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology.
In this regard, Martínez said that Cuba has nowadays taken measures to prevent COVID-19 from spreading across the country, and without predicting the number of patients that could be infected, these drugs are available to thousands of people over three to six months, with specific plans to increase the number of drugs so as to meet Cuba´s needs and requests from various nations.
Despite the U.S. blockade, which prevents a stable production of these 300 medicines, Martínez stressed that the Cuban government is managing to acquire new resources, raw materials and spare parts to guarantee the production of antiviral drugs, antibiotics, cardiac dysrhythmia drugs, anesthetics, parenteral solutions and many others for fighting COVID-19.
"We are focused on increasing drug coverage, organization of production systems and purchase of resources to timely have all medicines the national health system requires to fight this pandemic, as well as the development of new products," said Martínez.
CUBA ACCELERATES DEVELOPMENT OF NEW PRODUCTS AGAINST COVID-19
Researchers and scientists from the BioCubaFarma group (biotechnology-pharmaceutical industries) are currently developing new products and medicines as part of national and global attempts to stop the spread of Covid-19.
Dr. Gerardo Guillén, director of biomedical research at the Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology, CIGB, explained to the press that processes are being accelerated to have them ready and assess them jointly with Chinese laboratories, and once their positive results have been proven, they will begin production.
Among the new products are two inhibitor peptides with antiviral properties to prevent infection by the virus: the first was developed for AIDS treatment, with a proven ability to temporarily change the cellular structure that makes up the germ and thereby disable the infection, detailed the specialist.
Guillén meant that this peptide is the first of its kind because its therapeutic target is the cell unlike traditional ones that affect a virus protein, so it is expected to have a broader effect against different pathogens, decrease resistance and ineffectiveness.
He commented that the second project is also an antiviral peptide, which was investigated several years ago at the CIGB against various types of cancer, now in phase two-three clinical study phase in different hospital institutions in the country.
The expert described it as a therapeutic target peptide in an enzyme, responsible for 25 percent of the signal-transmitting proteins within cells, including those that replicate viruses such as Hepatitis C, AIDS and Herpes Simplex, a knowledge that supports its ability to combat Covid-19. The scientific literature defines that peptides, like proteins, are molecules formed by the union of different amino acids, attached by links called peptides, which have various functions in the body and are part of many metabolic processes.
Among the most ambitious proposals, Dr. Luis Herrera, scientific and commercial advisor to BioCubaFarma, cited obtaining a vaccine grounded on the experience and leadership of the GIGB in this type of product based on virus-like particles.
It will be a drug supplied by nasal immunization as a route of administration to facilitate the systemic response of the organism and at the mucosa level in the treatment of the coronavirus.
This project is endorsed by the registration of a therapeutic vaccine against Hepatitis B, so it has been designed in order to develop it in coordination with the Chinese health authorities.
The Covid-19 has registered since December 31, 2019 125,048 cases confirmed by laboratories, 4,613 deaths and 118 affected territories. (PL)