Supervisor Elham AbolFateh
Editor in Chief Mohamed Wadie

China Is Using Cuba's Interferon Alfa 2B Against Coronavirus

Thu 19 Mar 2020 | 11:59 AM
Yara Sameh

China is using Cuban drug Interferon alfa 2B as a treatment for the coronavirus, according to the Granma, the official newspaper of the Cuban government.

Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel confirmed on Twitter that the drug is being used in the Asian giant, and expressed his government's support for the Chinese authorities "in their efforts to combat the coronavirus."

The drug, produced by the Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology, has been used to combat viral infections caused by the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), hepatitis B and C, and respiratory Papillomatosis.

China selected the Cuban antiviral, along with 30 others to treat coronavirus patients.

Luis Herrera Martínez, a scientific and commercial advisor to the President of BioCubaFarma, affirmed that the drug “has the advantage that in situations like these it is a mechanism to protect itself, its use prevents patients with the possibility of becoming aggravated and complicated from reaching that stage, and finally have death as an outcome ”.

A plant in China's Jilin province began producing the drug thanks to a technology transferred from the Cuban side.

“The Chinese-Cuban Changheber plant in Jilin produces Interferon-alpha (IFNrec) with the use of Cuban technology. The Chinese Health Commission has selected our product among those used in the fight against coronaviruses, ”confirmed the Cuban Presidency on its Twitter account.

Italy has requested the presence of Cuban doctors and the use of that medicine. The interferon is also used by Spain against the Coronavirus.

Interferon-beta, a medicine of Cuban origin, is being used together with drugs related to the treatment of HIV /AIDS, at the Virgen del Rocío Hospital in Seville to successfully treat the cases of contagion registered in Spain.

This is the application of lopinavir and ritonavir, also used to prevent HIV, along with interferon beta, the Cuban drug that has been so successful in China, and that continues to be used by all the countries worldwide that have already been seen affected by this probable epidemic that the World Health Organization already described as a "very high" risk globally.

According to the doctors in Seville, interferon beta has a different mechanism of action than the other two that they are using, but it is just as effective.

The Cuban medicine is a protein that naturally occurs in human cells when they are infected by a virus.

"The objective is to alert the other cells, which thus develop greater resistance to infection," said doctors in Spain.

Some hospitals in Wuhan have also used the treatment used in the Virgen del Rocío, and it has been positive, although its reliability is poor, so the cure must continue to be sought.

This treatment, with the three drugs, including the Cuban one, is the most indicated, experimentally, by the Spanish Ministry of Health.

Its use is recommended when there are serious or life-threatening diseases, such as Coronavirus. But it has not been the only country that is in search of the Cuban medicine.

With the arrival in Mexico of the Coronavirus, searches for Interferon soared, after showing its positive effects on the lives of hundreds of people in China.

Interferon is known to have cured more than 1,500 patients with coronavirus and is among the drugs of choice for the WHO.