Cuba’s early entry into the biotech industry allowed it to harness international expertise and develop medicines to fight dengue fever and meningitis. One of these, Interferon Alfa-2B, is now being used to combat the effects of Covid-19, writes Helen Yaffe (University of Glasgow).
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Covid-19 emerged in the Chinese city of Wuhan in late December 2019, and by January 2020 it had hit Hubei province like a tidal wave, swirling over China and rippling out overseas.
The Chinese state rolled into action to combat its spread and care for those infected. Amongst the 30 medicines chosen by the Chinese National Health Commission to fight the virus was a Cuban anti-viral drug called Interferon Alfa-2B, which has been produced in China by the Cuban-Chinese joint venture ChangHeber since 2003.
Interferon Alfa-2B and Cuban biotechnology
Cuban Interferon Alfa-2B has proven effective for viruses with characteristics similar to those of Covid-19. Cuban biotech specialist Dr Luis Herrera Martínez explains that “its use prevents aggravation and complications in patients, reaching that stage that can ultimately result in death.”
Cuba first developed and used interferons to arrest a deadly outbreak of the dengue virus in 1981, and that experience catalysed the development of the island’s now world-leading biotech industry.
The world’s first biotechnology enterprise, Genetech, was founded in San Francisco in 1976, followed by AMGen in Los Angeles in 1980. One year later, the Biological Front, a professional interdisciplinary forum, was set up to develop the industry in Cuba.
While most developing countries had little access to new technologies (recombinant DNA, human gene therapy, biosafety), Cuban biotechnology expanded and took on an increasingly strategic role in both the public-health sector and the national economic development plan. And this despite the US blockade, which obstructed access to technologies, equipment, materials, finance, and even knowledge exchange. Driven by public-health demand, it has been characterised by its fast track from research and innovation to trials and application, as the story of Cuban interferon shows.
The international history of Cuban interferons
Interferons are “signalling” proteins produced and released by cells in response to infections in order to prompt nearby cells to heighten their anti-viral defences. They were first identified in 1957 by Jean Lindenmann and Aleck Isaacs in London. In the 1960s, Ion Gresser, a US researcher in Paris, showed that interferons stimulate lymphocytes that attack tumours in mice. In the 1970s, US oncologist Randolph Clark Lee took up this research.
Catching the tail end of US President Carter’s improved relations with Cuba, Dr Clark Lee visited Cuba, met with Fidel Castro, and convinced him that interferons could become the wonder drug. Shortly afterwards, a Cuban doctor and a haematologist spent time in Dr Clark Lee’s laboratory, returning with the latest research about interferon and more contacts.
In March 1981, six Cubans spent 12 days in Finland with the Finnish doctor Kari Cantell, who in the 1970s had isolated interferon from human cells, and had shared the breakthrough by declining to patent the procedure. The Cubans learned to produce large quantities of interferons.
Within 45 days of returning to the island, they had produced the first Cuban batch of interferon, the quality of which was confirmed by Cantell’s laboratory in Finland. Just in time, it turned out.
Cuba’s 1981 dengue epidemic
Weeks later Cuba was struck by an epidemic of dengue, a disease transmitted by mosquitos. It was the first time this particularly virulent strand, which can trigger life-threatening dengue haemorrhagic fever, had appeared in the Americas.
The epidemic affected 340,000 Cubans, with 11,000 new cases diagnosed every day at its peak. 180 people died, including 101 children. The Cubans suspected the CIA of releasing the virus. The US State Department denied it, but a recent Cuban investigation claims to provide evidence that the epidemic was introduced from the US.
Cuba’s Ministry of Public Health authorised the use of Cuban interferon to halt the dengue outbreak. It was done at great speed, and mortality declined.
In their historical account, Cuban medical scientists Caballero Torres and López Matilla wrote:
It was the most extensive prevention and therapy event with interferon carried out in the world. Cuba began to hold regular symposia, which quickly drew international attention.
The first international event in 1983 was prestigious; Cantell gave the keynote speech and Clark attended with Albert Bruce Sabin, the Polish American scientist who developed the oral polio vaccine.
Convinced about the contribution and strategic importance of innovative medical science, the Cuban government set up the Biological Front in 1981 to develop the sector. Cuban scientists went abroad to study, many in western countries. Their research took on more innovative paths, as they experimented with cloning interferon.
By the time Cantell returned to Cuba in 1986, the Cubans had developed the recombinant human Interferon Alfa 2B, which has benefited thousands of Cubans since then. With significant state investment, Cuba also opened its showpiece Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (CIGB) in 1986. But by then Cuba was submerged in another health crisis, a serious outbreak of meningitis B, though this too served to stimulate Cuba’s biotechnology sector.
Dr Helen Yaffe has also co-produced a documentary on Cuba’s response to COVID-19 (with Dr Valia Rodríguez, Aston University, UK)
Cuba’s meningitis miracle
In 1976, Cuba was struck by outbreaks of meningitis types B and C. Prior to that, only a few isolated cases had been seen on the island. Internationally, vaccines existed for meningitis types A and C, but not for type B.
Cuban health authorities secured a vaccine from a French pharmaceutical company to immunise the population against type C meningitis. However, in the following years, cases of type B began to rise. A team of specialists from different medical science centres was established, led by a woman biochemist, Concepción Campa, to work intensively on finding a vaccine.
By 1984, meningitis B had become the most serious health problem in Cuba. After six years of intense work, Campa’s team produced the world’s first successful meningitis B vaccine in 1988. A member of Campa’s team, Dr Gustavo Sierra recalled their joy:
This was the moment when we could say it works, and it works in the worst conditions, under the pressure of an epidemic and amongst people of the most vulnerable age.
Between 1989 and 1990, the three million Cubans most at risk were vaccinated. Subsequently, 250,000 young people were vaccinated with the VA-MENGOC-BC vaccine, a combined vaccine for meningitis types B and C. The vaccine recorded a 95 per cent efficacy rate overall, with 97 per cent in the high-risk age group of three months to six years. Cuba’s meningitis B vaccine was awarded a UN Gold Medal for global innovation. This was Cuba’s meningitis miracle.
Recalling a chart of the rise and sudden fall of meningitis B cases in Cuba, the Director of the Centre for Molecular Immunology (CIM) Agustín Lage told me, “one can work 30 years, 14 hours a day, just to enjoy that graph for 10 minutes … Biotechnology started for this. But then the possibilities of developing an export industry opened up, and today Cuban biotechnology exports go to 50 countries.”
Since its first application to combat dengue fever, Cuba’s interferon has shown its efficacy and safety in the therapy of viral diseases including hepatitis types B and C, shingles, HIV-AIDS, and dengue. Because it interferes with viral multiplication within cells, it has also been used in the treatment of different types of carcinomas. Only time will tell if Interferon Alfa 2B proves to be the wonder drug in tackling Covid-19.
• The views expressed here are of the authors rather than the Centre or LSE
• This article draws on the author’s new book We Are Cuba! How a Revolutionary People Have survived in a Post-Soviet World (Yale University Press, 2020) and particularly its fifth chapter, “The curious case of Cuba’s biotech revolution”
• This is a slightly modified version of an article first published by Yale University Press blog
• Please read our Comments Policy before commenting
This is really interesting, and so are the comments. Thanks!
Why the author does not comment on the fact that the tyranny ruling in Cuba uses a great deal of economic resources in arming the police to repress any form of political opposition. Why not to comment that in Cuba there are not medicines such as aspirin, prednisone, antibiotics, bronchodilators, etc, etc, etc. And not due to the USA embargo, as the tyranny indicates, because impressive tourist attractions including multiple luxury hotels are built all the time in the same country where people starve, transport is nonexistent, etc. Does the embargo work only in the direction that affects the people? Think!
Manuel: where does your hatred and ignorance vis-a-vis Cuba come from? Certainly not from facts and empirical evidence. All experts worldwide would agree with what Helen has written. I recently worked at a university there, saw the results of the blockade (restricted travel, restricted online-platforms because of the U.S. government’s “freedom” to intervene, subvert, block its neighboring country). Concerning the five Covid-vaccines, developed and produced in Cuba (!!): two thirds of the annual investment into medicine production went to those vaccines an are an amazing success. Of course, now the production of all the other medicines has been increased again. Most other countries in the global south are still waiting for vaccines!
You may read some scientific articles about the horrific effects – including the “extraterritorial effects” of the blockade. By the way: your message seems to be based on a typical neoliberal “logic”: blame the victim. Question: if the U.S. blockade would not punish Cuba, why not end it?
Here is the most precise definition of the real aims of policy toward Cuba contained in the memorandum of Undersecretary of State Lester D. Mallory of April 6, 1960: “Creating disappointment and discouragement through economic frustration and distress (…), weakening economic activity by Cuba denied money and supplies to lower nominal and real wages, cause starvation, desperation and the overthrow of the government”.
If it is benefit for human community then why is UN ,WHO,UNESCO all silent.Then why should we have all these organisations.I feel that why should this injustice be done to country for the past 60 years.
Fantastic article!!!!!!! I have been following cuban medical research for years… simply outstanding!!!!!!
They also have the lung cancer shot to keep cells from growing and its an example of the dedication of their scientist .
I guess – no profits to be made?
All the the Cuba-Yaffe hate comments do not add any value, or provide a way forward to the solution to the current coronavirus crisis. It puzzles me why readers’ time, in the hate-comment blog space, has to be wasted and distracted trawling through politically motivated attacks against the health providers. This is a discussion and dialogue, not a quarrel or contrarian debate about some utopian proof to find who holds the high ground of ‘democractic-supremacy.’
Some of these comments seem to arise from a displaced psychological anxiety caused by the corona-virus attack. It has been reported that severe mental health problems now inflict, not only the direct victims of the pandemic, but millions more isolated and left stranded by capitalism in fear of being infected. First we had indifference, and now fear, ignorance and panic created by imperialist governments, because they simply do not know what to do, other than to look for ways to profit from dumping stock and making millions from death and suffering. People living under imperialism are left to look for DIY solutions, as they grab supermarket trolleys, sleep walking into a State-health dystopia, while State officials, the lame-stream media and their intellectual elite and officers, debate over technical possibilities, but are incapable of putting into action any national plan of prevention and treatment. Socialism on the contrary has a national and international plan, and it is not based on fear, intrigue, ignorance or speculation. Socialism is on the frontline in a war to defend all humanity.
Dr Yaffe’s blog offers advice and research evidence to fight the pandemic in the interests of all humanity. Frontline medical staff and key workers around the world need comments that will support our medical soldiers sustain the battle throughout the war. Cuba, China and independent nations like Russia are not only properly equipped for battle against the corona-virus, but making international solidarity action a reality, rather than scoring political points in a primary-school debating society. For this contribution to humanity we are treated to iron-fisted trade bans and national defamation campaigns, by imperialism, to cover its own inhumanity as perpetrators of perpetual wars and endless sanctions. In doing this imperialism, instead of joining the international battle against the virus, use it for its own political purposes to terrorise and expose resistant nations to deepening pandemic attack. It is imperialism and its active and unconscious backers that is already suffering from a deep pathological problem.
I couldn’t agree more. Thank you for stating the blatantly obvious facts. The oligarchs will disagree but their form of capitalism, where people profit from another’s illness, has to end.
I admire Cuba’s heathcare, scientists and lust for improving lives of people everywhere.
As a person that has met actual Cubans that fled the island for economic reasons, I suggest that you not believe a word they say.
Doctors make less than taxi drivers in Cuba. The hospitals that average Cubans use are dilapidated. It’s not like the US where media can criticize the government, ALL media in Cuba is state owned. They traffic lies and don’t allow criticism.
Doctors are ORDERED to go abroad by the government because it’s good publicity. They literally can’t say no.
The government doesn’t allow political dissent. It’s one of the most repressive governments on Earth.
The article seems to suggest interferon alfa-2b was invented in Cuba. It wasn’t. It was first made in a lab in Switzerland.
Meanwhile while Cuba sends a few dozen doctors to combat stuff like Ebola, the West gives BILLIONS in aid to combat diseases like HIV, tuberculosis, and others. I’m sure plenty of Western doctors volunteer through NGOs lioe Medicins sans Frontieres also of their own volition.
Actually Biogen is credited with developing Interferon Alfa-2B first and Schering-Plough brought it to market in 1986.
Cuban Doctors and healthcare experts have been used all over the globe and have produced excellent results. They are VERY well respected and appreciated all around the world. They’re far more trustworthy than the bitter Cubans who fled the country after the revolution.
Little differences matter. When the incentives are placed to develop health care for all -you come up with drugs that tackle the viruses at affordable prices. In the US, incentives are for Big Pharma to grow as a monster, where it’s huge lobbying power, assures big enough revenue prices impossible to get even in open market circumstances.
This article should be socialized so people can know how an economic limited country such as Cuba can develop an entire industry so critical for the well-being and for its economic performance, such as the Bio-Tech one.
Thanks for sharing LSE!
When people are dying, like they are doing now from the coronavirus, they will use any means that they think will save them. Can you explain to me why the research in different parts of the world is not considering this product as an option. You cannot tell me that there has been influenced by US Pharma. The science involved in this product has not convinced people outside of Cuba that this is an option of treatment.
Well. Let me inform u all on this site. Cubans don’t go to other countries to help they get picked to go and serve in other country against their own will leaving behind their love ones for years nd years nd payment lol payments u talk about 💀the castro take a high %%%%%from these doctors nd nurses nd this is a the big secret they have to keep from the world. Believe it or not is the sad truth of the Cuban ppl witch are nice nd very helpful of the majority.
Wonderful information about Cuba’s biotech, world should rethink about their system which we are using in the name of WHO.
Congrats and hats off to Cuba citizens. we should proud of them.
Cuba helped bring down Apartheid while the USA supported Apartheid. Fidel and Nelson were the best of friends. The USA branded Mandela a terrorist.
Cuba’s physicians are second to none.
They have a much higher adult literacy rate than the USA.
If you’re poor or working class, you are much better off living in Cuba than you are in the USA.
Yup you are correct…I really don’t about Cuba but I saw one video about Cuba doctors and there medicine..hats off👍
Cuba has the most qualified doctors and medical professionals as well as engineers. The government train them for free. Don’t confuse communism with training and education. Give credit where it is due.
Please help the world to come out of the covid 19
Pls help all countries, this virus kill largest people
Does it honestly matter what country developers a drug that helps any situation. Cuban government yes they make a deal with other countries to pay for their doctors and the doctors going out of country do get paid well as does the government. But then what country government doesn’t get reimbursed for helping other countries. As for the drug going to the USA it more than likely won’t. Not because of Cuban government but USA government that one word embargo. USA put the restrictions on. They lifted them got what they wanted then poof back on.
Cuban doctors have helped the most vulnerable, Ebola crisis in Africa where so many people died. Health care workers from the Western countries like the UK, US and Canada died by contracting the virus in Africa, but not one Cuban doctor contracted the Ebola virus. They are in Italy again! This shows even with the embargo and limited access to basics, they know how to combat the most dangerous viruses.
Even with the battered state of Cuban hospitals, when you look around the world especially most Latin American countries Cuba has one of the best health care when it is compared to countries that have not faced embargo for more than six decades.
The cuban government is not to be trusted, 90 percent of their claims are based on lies and misinformation!!
You mean like the Trump administration?
Maybe they’ll give Nobel Prize to Trump too…you know all they lying and that.
Cuba helped bring down Apartheid while the USA supported Apartheid. Fidel and Nelson were the best of friends. The USA branded Mandela a terrorist.
Cuba’s physicians are second to none.
They have a much higher adult literacy rate than the USA.
If you’re poor or working class, you are much better off living in Cuba than you are in the USA.
It’s a beautiful island. Cubans are a beautiful people. I’m happy to call it my second home.
Yes we support any country based on truths
and for helping to the people without discriminations..
I have the pleasure and freedom, as a Canadian, to travel to Cuba, which I have done seventeen times. I am in my 70’s and usually travel solo. When I can, I take medical and educational supplies with me. Yes, the hospitals are not fancy …. but they do extraordinary work for EVERYONE, the maternity hospitals are probably a good reason for their extremely low infant mortality ( lower than the USA), another, their comprehensive prenatal care. The teaching hospital (School of Medicine of Latin America, I believe) is extremely inspirational, I was able to visit it with 24 American educators and journalists in 2008. They have developed many medicines and treatments while under the most severe and unethical embargo…. as agreed by every other UN country except Israel. They cannot easily access much needed insulin, Germany’s Siemens and other medical equipment suppliers are denied the ability to provide them. It is small wonder that their hospitals are not state of the art, more amazing still is the extraordinary medical care they provide, not only at home, but abroad as well… just ask MSF whose doctors were there right away, and are still in Haiti! No country is perfect, but the vitriol toward this country is unwarranted. Give credit where it is due. I would feel as safe in Cuba as I do in my own much loved country.
We have all been lied to in the UK by our Government aka Capitalism… lies filtered through propaganda and mainstream bullshit.
Our poverty doesn’t lie.
Our powerlessness doesn’t lie.
Our oppression does not lie. Cuba
have shown that even after they’ve been vilified by the US and others, they still reach out and offer their help.
We could all learn so much from Cuba’s internationalism and their Solidarity in the face of this Global crisis. If we just opened our hearts and minds, we would be capable of perceiving a larger landscape one not coloured by our Countries own lies and propaganda.
Congrats and hats off to Cuba citizens.
World’s health is being marketting by the capitalistic countries through the name of liberalisation. How crucial it is..
It’s to be stopped by joining the hands of humanities.
Everyone has to be aware about their health. Unless we try to know about the politics behind the crisis, we may suppressed by the crisis.
Thank you very much for this article.
பொதுவுடைமையின் பொது நலத்தால் பொதுவுலகம் புத்துயிர் பெறட்டும்.
Dr Yaffe does not mention here facts like the battered state of Cuban hospitals, or the generalized lack of hygiene products. She does not question the controversial response of the Cuban government to the pandemics, which has included actively promoting the arrival of tourists from everywhere including highly affected countries like Italy, when most countries have concluded that closing the borders, at least partially, is necessary. The Cuban response is difficult to understand given the reasons above, but also due to a) the high proportion of the population in risk age groups; b) the fact that flu and pneumonia are already the fourth cause of death in Cuba (~8000 deaths in 2018); c) the lack of evidence for the over-optimistic view that the hot weather will avoid the expansion of the illness.
As an academic and researcher, I wonder how one can build a research career about Cuban issues, that is not based on researching or questioning anything but just repeating the Cuban state propaganda. As a person of Cuban origin, I am also perplexed because I have never read anything written by Helen Yaffe about Cuba that involves even minimal criticism of a regime that has been in power for over six decades, systematically repressing dissent and censoring alternative voices, as recognised widely and criticised by Amnesty International and other international organizations.
Thanks for the comment, Ricardo.
Just to say, as editor of this blog, that the post comes from a tenured academic at a Russell Group university who has a long publishing record on Cuba, including most recently the book from Yale University Press on which this article is based (We Are Cuba!, 2020). These kinds of credentials are well above the bar for what we would usually consider verifiable expertise on a given area.
Dr Asa Cusack, LSE Latin America and Caribbean Centre
Thank you for your response. Unfortunately, being based at a Russell Group university is no guarantee against being biased (I don’t believe it is a guarantee of anything, but that’s a different matter). The lack of critical analysis of what is a very complex political system, where positive, laudable policies (including universal health care) are tainted by a well-known record of repression, censorship and increasing corruption, makes her descriptions of the Cuban reality absurdly one-sided, more propaganda than research.
This kind of support for a brutal and repressive regime ends up costing people their lives and their freedom. On the same basis, commending the Cuban stance in the coronavirus crisis, when their response so far is, at a minimum, controversial (and at odds with the experiences of other countries that have achieved control over the virus) is just irresponsible.
I broadly agree that being at or from a Russell Group university is not some kind of gold standard — hell, I got a PhD from one myself! — but it is a measure of something because there are many barriers to getting into such a university first as a student and then as an academic, particularly a tenured academic. Ultimately these kinds of things are all we have available as practicable criteria, and the same goes for peer-reviewed publications or the relative difficulty of publishing with university presses (an Ivy League one in this case, to fall back on another marker of supposed quality).
I would also say that this piece is not about the Cuban response to coronavirus and as such Cuba’s response is not commended (though neither is it criticised, clearly). It is really about the history of Cuban biotech, which has ultimately come to be of relevance to coronavirus because of Chinese utilisation of the jointly produced interferon discussed.
Thank you. I take your point that the article is not about the response to the coronavirus crisis.
The context of my post (in addition to the exasperation on reading yet another “everything-is-so-great-about-Cuba” article from Helen Yaffe) is that the complacent response of the Cuban authorities to the coronavirus outbreak has been defended by some people, based on the supposedly strong health care system, including the availability of that interferon.
As I said in my first post, that kind of thinking ignores the reality of the current conditions of hospitals in Cuba, the serious hygiene problems there, etc, and therefore underestimates the huge challenge that the coronavirus poses to Cubans for the the next few weeks.
In any case, I really hope I am wrong this time, and that the Cuban system works as well as Dr Yaffe describes in her articles, and in particular the healthcare system is able to cope.
Dr. Ricardo, This is a little late to the conversation, but I must add your comments are misleading : the complacent response of the Cuban authorities to the coronavirus outbreak has been defended by some…
First off, Cuba’s mortality rate for COVID19 speaks for itself. You MAY have had a point if they didnt travel to assist/research or had a flareup like some of their more well-off neighbors. When you factor that they desperately need to survive “illegitimate” brutal sanctions, you get a more realistic idea and context.
Second, you comment on how “run down” hospitals are without taking into account the facts that the nation has a lower child mortality rate than even the clean overpriced US hospitals. Same goes with the COVID19 deaths. Think you should reserve that for the idiotic US administration in charge if you are to be taken seriously.
Mann: This discussion was a long time ago, at the start of the pandemics.
The response from the Cuban government was originally very weak, not stopping tourism etc., but got better and they eventually adopted a full lockdown (thankfully, I have family there).
1. Cuban health statistics are generally not reliable. See e.g. here: https://academic.oup.com/heapol/article/33/6/755/5035051. I wouldn’t be surprised if there are significantly more COVID cases than admitted.
2. The situation is getting worse again, unfortunately. COVID cases are back on the rise in Cuba. We need to wait and see before we make any conclusions about how the government has managed the pandemics.
On the other hand, your comments about the US administration etc are pure whataboutery, and don’t deserve response.
Hats off to the noble Cubans. May your global samaritan service in the realm of health and medicine continue for ever and ever. Kudos to blogger who threw light on medical innovations despite poltics.
If you were infected with a deadly disease and are about to die, would you ask for the hygiene report of the hospital or want your live saved?
Jamaicans have been trained in medicine by Cubans
Cuban doctors have helped Jamaicans with eye problems.
1986 also was the year that Castro banned Naturpaz in Cuba the first Ecological and Peace Independent Movement born inside Cuba.
While the success of the Cuba Biotech should be celebrate, acknowledge, and I heartily support it as a positive action the fact that Helen Yaffe writes about “Che Guevara economics” totally descrite her enthusiasm about Cuban Government used of medice as a political tool to get International and uneducated support to one of the most hateful totalitarian communist regimes in world History.
Che Guevara was not an “economist” but a murderer thug who illegally headed a bunch of executions in Cuba after also killing innocent people without trial or due process rights while he was a guerrilla fighter in Cuba and a well known terrorist.
While the marketing and production of interferon is a business that the Cuban Government kept in the hands of the State to keep the Cuban people living without rights to invest in their own Biotech Industry as private citizens that is a right that does not exist in Cuba.
lets embrace this invent and take it positively…
Why doesn’t anyone know about this?
Because the media of the left is very weak and the media of the right is oppressively aggressive, and dynamic. Whether you look up down or sideways there will be right wing propaganda. The form the propaganda takes can be subtle or brutal. Is communism the default state?
According to Wikipedia: Interferon alfa-2b is an antiviral or antineoplastic drug, that was originally discovered in the laboratory of Charles Weissmann at the University of Zurich. It was developed at Biogen, and ultimately marketed by Schering-Plough under the tradename Intron-A. It has been used for a wide range of indications, including viral infections and cancers.
The only things Cubans invent these days are lies.
All Cubans do is spread lies? How many American doctors went to Italy to help in the crisis? Cuba sent their doctors there to help. Open your eyes. Every country’s politicians lie. American ones the most and so darn greedy won’t help anyone unless it benefits them some way.
Darcy……to answer your question.. yes… cuban government spreads lies… this is how communist propaganda works… do you believe that as today only 9 cases of COVID 19 are in Cuba? when is a contry that his goverment is inviting everyone around the world sick or no sick to come to Cuba. This Castro Regime has enchanted many plp around the world base in pure lies. The Drs. traveling to Italy were forced to say yes!.. if they dont say yes the are kicked out from the health system in Cuba and will be force to sit at home jobless. To tell you more.. CastroRegime is charging Italy a lot of money for those Drs. They pay less than 10% to the Drs. and keep the rest….not the cuban plp. but for them. Everyone who works for the regime in Cuba is force to take sides with them or else choose between jail or get kicked out from the job. This might surprise you but dont expect much of fearnest from a regime that put anyone in jail for months or years w/o trials for the simple reason that they think differently or charge you for the simple reason that IN THE FUTURE YOU CAN BECOME A “CONTRA REVOLUCIONARIO”.
I invite you to read boths sides and gather your own conclusions, if still not convince, take 100 pound euros or dollars and go to Cuba and live like a real cuban from the street for 6 months then call me and tell me how was your experience as a simple “cuban”. The most filthy vet. clinic in the world is cleaner than all the hospitals in Cuba for the “simple cubans”…. this says a lot!!!
Not trying to rip this article, just stating the facts!!.
BTW. the Interfero 2B is not a Cuban invention and is not prooven to be the cure for the COVID 19 nor to be effective…. this is pure COMMUNIST PROPAGANDA… controling what you can learn, reaf, listen or say has been the key to control 11.5 mill. of cubans for 61 years. I invite you to research how was the cuban economy and how we lived before 1959, – again read both sides -.
So only communist countries lie? That’s interesting I have a new trust in Trump now I guess when he says it’s fake news it is. As for the doctors being forced to go. They were asked. Any doctor that refuses to help any patient really didn’t take the doctor oath very seriously. That’s like a military soldier that voluntarily enlisted then when was time for war says no. A doctor was trained to help the sick not just put a bandage on and say all better. Wake up people are people. Governments are governments which ever communist or not they all lie put propaganda out there. Every government does behind door deals. But in your eyes the great USA does not lie everything is on up and up. Just because it’s a communist government makes Cubans bad people ? That is the most stereo typical thing there is.
Hmmm…not so cut-and-dry it seems. Not sure what “lies” you’re referring to, but you can search a bit more past Wikipedia like I did today:
1) Dr Weissmann and his colleagues published papers in Nature (1980) and Science (1980) about producing recombinant interferon,
2) According to an EU/WHO case study “Cuban experience with local production of medicines, technology transfer and improving access to health”, Cuba mass-produced interferon alfa in 1981 to treat cancers and dengue fever: “The first experience that marked the research–development–production–marketing strategy was the obtaining of leukocyte interferon alfa in 1981, using technology developed in Finland”
3) Intron-A combination therapy was patented 1986 (Biogen/Schering-Plough), same year that recombinant Heberon-alfa R (Cuba/CIGB) was registered, I don’t know which registration happened first.
Cubans may not have originally discovered this treatment, but they are very much early adopters of the technology. Before this pandemic they’ve made significant contributions to healthcare, despite the size of their country, less resources and embargos.
Kit I don’t know where are you from, I am also part of Cuba cause I were born there and you said The only things Cubans invent these days are lies, and let me tell you Cuban government and Fidel Castro who was the person to impulse there Bio tech projects always mentioned than the fathers of Cuba Bio tech were the Americans, he seemed to be a serious person, then what about estreptoquinasa recombinante, factor de crecimiento epidermico, the powerful Oleozon, Cuba does not need to lie,by the way I was treated with similar in the western , and I would say it is as good as the western one or even better, and now tell me where are you from, I am going to tell you about all lies in your part , because the world is full of lies, corruption and many more things, demonization is not acceptable because maybe you don’t cost one cent.
Thank you very much for this Article. I don’t know why this drug is not mentioned anywhere in the COVID-19 related news. Is America playing their capitalist game in lives of lot of people, even in this dark time ?. Cuba should be recognized among the world for their service in Healthcare.
Please stop believing a dictatorial communist government! Cuba is no longer the medically and scientifically advanced paradise it might have been decades ago. It should only suffice to google: Cuban hospital conditions, to see beyond the facade the government still tries to sell to the world. Cubans live in a constant crisis and are opresed on a daily basis. Stop believing the lies of a government that has stayed in power for 61 years by force of intimidation and actual murder. No elections, no freedom of speech, constant oppression, no reliable legal system. Open your eyes to the reality.
Laura have you ever been to Cuba and not just the resort. If only on a resort you haven’t experienced any country. As for murders it is probably one of the safest countries in the world. There is more than one side of a disagreement. I used to believe all the bs coming from the states about Cuba until I went there and stayed with the people and asked questions. The embargo is in place because cub stood up to the United States. The bully and now USA is trying to break them to get what they want. USA spreads as much propaganda as Russia.
The problem with viewing Cuba is that there are two perspectives and these two are more caricature than honest paradigms of insight. Communist countries are by their very nature centralized and squeeze out any criticism, dissent or alternative constructive criticism. Cuba projects a strong medical face to the world but in the confines of the island the dismal conditions of public hospitals is well documented. Sure there are hospitals but the supplies, the medicines? Hmmm. Don’t blame the embargo it’s more that Cuba doesn’t pay its external debt hence the Paris Group recently calling the govt out on defaulting. Alternatively to say that criticism about Cuba is polluted by US propaganda negates the agency that other non US cultures have in forming their opinions on the nature of the Cuban regime. Peruvians harbor memories of a hardline response to the Cubans who sought refuge at their embassy in Havana in April 1980 ( Ernesto Pinto Bazurco Rittler negotiator) Colombia is not happy about Cuban funded guerrillas, just to name a few examples of the destabilizing actions of the island regime. I point these events out to highlight that the you can’t discount criticism of the Cuba because one decides that the criticism is filtered through US propaganda. Even Emma Goldman realized that her admiration for the Russian revolution had to be revised when she visited the country in the aftermath of the revolution and saw and heard from other intellectuals how the Bolsheviks were sucking all the oxygen from the room by murdering and “sidelining” the communists who wanted a democratic communism not a dictatorial one. Come on people study your history.?
I guess all of us are experts on the propaganda. You can pull a document from anywhere on the internet to back up what you believe. And history repeats itself. Is communism or capitalism right or wrong. It’s a matter of opinion. And I’ve been in Cuba multiple times and never on the resort. Yes the people wish they had a life like ours in Canada or other capitalist countries. But I will say this they are poor but the poorest child has the same opportunity as the ones that their parents have status. I’ve seen the poorer families children being taught fine arts. In Canada or other countries money talks. No money no training. No matter how much raw talent. Yes they are poor but the unique thing is just about everyone you meet is positive. If they turned to capitalism how many years would it take before they would see any improvement?
Laura, while the hardship in live of Cubans are well known their government stand up strong against the western imperialism and continue to provide to Cuban people. Cuba is the SAFEST place in the Caribean
(and may be in the world) and it is a true PARADISE for tourists alike…
Thank you for this article. People in the world, but fundamentally in the United States need much more of this. Here, in the USA is compelled to think that the good things in the world happen only in the USA, and many inside its populations despise people from other non developed countries because they don’t know and they believe they know. Thanks again.
If people refuse to believe what Cuba has done with its Biomedical industry is really their prerogative. The facts are there for anyone to check. Numbers don’t lie. Covid-19 is a good place to start. I also wonder how long will the US keep the embargo on Cuba in times like these? INHUMANE
Thanks Cuba doctor s and citizens but one thing this is don’t know world people so please tell them every one with you don’t worry good with us and one more thing please send this msg in Tamil Nadu people because Tamil people working all over world so thare looks next level work so please send than . thanks and one more thing one day will come that day this all problem is solved