Posted: Monday, March 8, 2021. 5:44 pm CST.
By Aaron Humes, Belize City: Isaac Saney, a Cuba specialist at Dalhousie University, Canada, and Co-Chair & Spokesperson, Canadian Network on Cuba, has commented for Guyana’s Stabroek News on Cuba’s singular role in the global fight against COVID-19.
The foremost example of this is the Henry Reeve International Medical Brigade against Disasters and Serious Epidemics, which was nominated for last year’s Nobel Peace Prize and is so nominated again in 2021. Cuba has sent nearly 4,000 of its medical personnel to 39 countries in both hemispheres, including Belize, to assist on the frontlines.
Cuba has also been developing its own treatment regimens, such as the Interferon Alfa 2B Recombinant (IFNrec). Scientific journals like the Lancet and the World Journal of Pediatrics have recognized the impact of IFNrec, which has also been used for dengue hemorrhagic fever, conjunctivitis, hepatitis B and C, and previous coronavirus outbreaks such as SARS in 2002 and MERS in 2012. Additionally, the Cuban-developed Itolizumab and Biomodulin T have been credited with reducing the death toll from COVID-19 and speeding recovery, especially in high-risk patients.
Cuba is presently testing four COVID-19 vaccine candidates: Soberana 1 and Soberana 2, developed by the Finlay Vaccine Institute, and Mambisa and Abdala, produced by the Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology. Soberana 2 has entered phase three testing with Abdala poised to start later this month and if they pass efficacy and safety tests, only final approval is needed for mass production and distribution.
The Cuban government plans to have all Cubans vaccinated against COVID-19 by the end of 2021. Vaccinations will also be available to visitors. Havana also intends to produce 100 million vaccine doses for use across the global South, with various countries having already reserved doses.
Saney argues that with all these examples – and in defiance of the continuing menace of the U.S. embargo against it – Cuba continues to flourish and be an example to the world, and it is time that the world properly recognizes it.
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