Cuba’s biotech field may have the answer for improving treatment for patients suffering from COVID-19 in Cuba and everywhere. Studying patients in Cuba and China, Cuban scientists say they have seen promising results with Interferon, a decades-old Cuban antiviral agent known for boosting the immune system.
About 80 nations, including China, have expressed interest in procuring the drug. The Cuban government hopes the treatment will help the island’s economy while making it a force to be reckoned with in the global struggle to curb the spread of the virus and lower death rates. “We have good products like interferon-alpha-2b that we are exporting and that open possibility,” noted Cuba’s Trade Minister Rodrigo Malmierca during a recent televised roundtable.
The drug however has critics, who express concern over heavily promoting a treatment not yet scientifically proven against COVID-19. The drug has not gone through clinical trials for treating COVID-19. Though studies during the SARS epidemic in 2003 suggest interferons might also be useful against coronaviruses. However, some forms of the drug may have considerable side effects, such as respiratory issues and fever.
The government of Cuba, however, has reported that interferon injections have helped reduce the country’s mortality rate to 4.1 percent, which is considerably less than the 5.9 percent average of in the United States.