Cuban science ends the year with good news

Cuban science ends the year with good news
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23 December 2020
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Cuban scientific community, in order to face COVID-19, bets on every possibility of triumphs, challenges every enigma and even the logic of times. Now people listen to Cuban scientists in their efforts to shorten the duration of researches, something that can only be achieved with a lot of work. This is how Cuba, with the imperial hand on its neck, deprived of multiple resources, has made and continues to make leaps in science, which will go down in history as unquestionable feats.

There is the certainty of having made, for example, good results with the use of the Nasalferon, and the four vaccination candidates made here are on the right track, said with joy, this Tuesday, the President of the Republic, Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez, during his meeting at the Revolution Palace with the group of scientists and experts who lead the activities of science and technological innovation in the confrontation with COVID-19.

"This is good news for the end of the year," said the Head of State, who began the exchange by congratulating those present, true masters of tireless research. And it is true that what was heard is a reason to rejoice when such a hard 2020 comes to an end.

When PhD Hugo Nodarse spoke about the impact of the use of Nasalferon, about evidence from studies carried out and new proposals for its use, it was as if only to think of hope.

The protocol of national action for the COVID-19, recalled Nodarse, from its first versions always had very present the need to incorporate prophylactic interventions. "In this sense, he recalled, the working group of experts from Biocubafarma and the Ministry of Public Health recommended the use of recombinant human Interferon alpha-2b (Nasalferon), produced by our biotechnology industry, and by Minsap".

Last March Cuba implemented the use, as explained by Nodarse, of this medicine administered in the form of nose drops for the protection of vulnerable populations and specific groups that were at great risk of infection, such as health personnel who are in direct contact with the new coronavirus.

He spoke of the importance of placing the product in the area where the virus enters, because this guarantees a rapid induction of interferon in that place where it is applied, and thus an antiviral state capable of containing the infection of COVID-19 is achieved.

The other advantage of the formulation, according to Nodarse, is that it can be self-administered by the sick person, in small doses and with satisfactory results, in a very simple way and without requiring any concentration in blood to achieve an effect.

Clinical studies were carried out and evaluated. In the future, the formulation can be used not only for COVID-19 but also for other respiratory diseases, said the scientist.

Then, it was added the exposition of the PhD Vicente Vérez Bencomo, general director of the Finlay Institute of Vaccines, whose topic was about the update of how the vaccinal candidates Soberana 01 and Soberana 02 are doing. After a detailed explanation, it was clear the good news of the passage to phase two of the clinical trial of Soberana 02; and they encourage the good results of what was done with Soberana 01, which presents many possibilities of being able to pass to phase two of the clinical trial.

PhD Eulogio Pimentel made reference to the two clinical trials being carried out at the Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (CIGB): they are the vaccine candidates Mambisa and Abdala. "So far the trials are going on as they should," he said. And one knows that our scientists do not give away joys that are not well founded.

Cuba confers great value to the updating of the prognosis models in relation to the pandemic's behavior, which was explained in the meeting with scientists by Raúl Guinovart Díaz, dean of the Mathematics and Computer Science Faculty of the University of Havana.

Supported by graphics that are already usual in this kind of meetings, Guinovart explained: "We have started a study analyzing COVID-19's behavior in all the provinces, and here we are presenting a summary of the impact that the disease is having in the country".

The professor warned that it is occurring, in almost all provinces, "a fairly rapid growth in the number of confirmed cases, and there is a faster growth in the number of confirmed cases than people who recover," which does not mean, he said, that there is a delay in recovery, is that this process is always much slower than the fall.

Since the opening of the airports, explained Guinovart, the number of imported cases has been growing. It started in the first two weeks with an average of 30 cases per day, then the numbers were between 40 and 50, and these days we are over 60. The curve says that the active cases continue to grow, and "the conditions are in place for that growth to occur.

From a graph that mathematicians extended until March 11, it is estimated that a peak of two thousand cases can be reached by mid-February if current conditions are maintained, so it is appropriate to take rigorous measures.

The professor reiterated that "there is a new normality in the country; but there must also be a new normality to receive visitors.

In this regard, Vice Prime Minister Roberto Morales Ojeda reflected that 57.5 percent of the cases that are arriving to the country are transmitting the disease, especially on the second day, and that it is urgent to continue maintaining the health protocol to be sure that things are being done properly at the airport.

It is very important, said Morales Ojeda, to avoid massive arrivals. The models of the disease's behavior in the provinces, he added, demand that they be very careful in each family environment.

According to the Minister of Public Health, José Angel Portal Miranda, the average number of cases per day in Cuba rose in December compared to the previous month.

Cuba ranks 22nd in the Americas and 122nd in the world; it reports 10,384 confirmed cases, 10,041 of which are Cuban and 343 foreign. It accumulates 139 deaths, for a lethality of 1.34.

The cases confirmed in the last 15 days amount to 850 for a rate of 7.59 per 100 thousand inhabitants, said the Minister in a meeting whose emphasis was on the call for systematic discipline and control.

Through video-conference, participants could be updated on the situation in the provinces of Pinar del Río, Artemisa, Havana, Mayabeque, Matanzas, Villa Clara, Cienfuegos, Camagüey, Las Tunas, Holguín, and Santiago de Cuba.

In essence, it was recalled that although science is giving its all to continue safeguarding life, discipline with sanitary protocols is vital today.

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