The results of Cuba against the Covid show how much the nation has done to win the battle against a devastating disease against human beings, said Dr. José Angel Portal Miranda, presenting an update on the contributions of science in this fight
Learning to live with Covid is a challenge for everyone, Portal Miranda pointed out. (Photo: ACN)
Cuba’s results against COVID-19 show how much the nation has done to win the battle against a devastating disease against human beings, said Dr. José Angel Portal Miranda, Minister of Public Health, presenting an update on the contributions of science in this combat, before a plenary excited and proud of the presence of the outstanding scientists who star in the feat of saving us.
He recalled that in 2020 a good control of the epidemic was achieved that was possible to maintain until early 2021, despite the increase in cases that meant the entry of new variants of SARS-COV-2 between December and February.
Since the beginning of 2021, the Cuban epidemiological context had a sustained growth of cases, until reaching the highest figures on August 23, with 9,907 cases, the Minister reviewed.
He pointed out that as of September 20 – the date when more than 40,000 people were admitted with the virus – the accelerated decline in assets began, reporting on October 27 8,261, which meant a reduction of 32,723 assets (75 % less than admitted) in 27 days.
However, the country has not stopped in developing its means to face the disease. He highlighted that in the last year the network of Molecular Biology Laboratories has continued to expand, reaching all the provinces and the special municipality of Isla de la Juventud. Today there are 27 such institutions in operation, with the capacity to process 25,000 PCR tests per day.
He referred to the constant and timely updating of our protocols, taking into account the epidemiological situation and the best experiences, which allowed us to face the different complications with greater precision.
He considered the strategy to combat the pandemic, of which the Plan for the prevention and control of the coronavirus, approved by the Council of Ministers as early as January 2020, led to anticipating the risks and acting without improvisation, when making decisions.
Of the Plan, he highlighted that one of its main axes is the organization of Health services, in which work has been carried out in a staggered manner on the availability of hospital beds, the provision of pulmonary ventilators and other medical and technological equipment, as well as in the preparation of professionals and technicians who work in the red zone and in the rest of the centers and services.
This way of acting – he stressed – has made it possible, during most of the epidemic, to maintain a balance between the needs and capacities of hospital beds and other services for the treatment of positive patients, despite the tense moments that were experienced recently with the significant increase in cases and the crisis with medicinal oxygen.
When ratifying the political will of our Party and Government, to put people’s health first, the Minister of Public Health highlighted how this has had, among its essential premises, a government management based on the use of science.
“It is precisely in science that the best answers have been found to combat the virus, and despite the tragedy that its spread throughout the world has caused, its accelerated spread has promoted the development of knowledge in a way that is unprecedented in Cuba,” he said.
He valued the work of Cuban universities and their links with the Health sector, in a valuable example of cooperation, as well as the integration of the Health system with the biotechnology industry, and with other research institutions and production centers, which favored valuable contributions in the fight against COVID-19.
Some of the contributions of science
- Completion of 23,000 research and innovation projects developed both at the national, provincial and institutional levels, covering basic, clinical-epidemiological and social research.
- Of the 261 national investigations: 41 are clinical trials, 14 population-based interventions, four intervention studies, 59 observational clinical studies, 65 epidemiological, 44 related to the diagnosis of the disease, 19 psychological and sociological investigations, as well as another 15 associated studies.
- Creation of a portfolio with 27 products developed by the BioCubaFarma companies: four immunomodulators, three antivirals, three anti-inflammatory drugs, three vaccines with approval for emergency use and two vaccine candidates still in clinical trial, four serological diagnoses, four molecular diagnoses and four medical equipments.
- Availability of swabs and culture media, which allows a wide diagnostic coverage.
- Use of more than 170 lung ventilators produced by the biopharmaceutical industry, for the care of critically ill patients.
- The Center for Advanced Studies of Cuba has produced nanotechnological inputs, used by the Molecular Biology Laboratories.
- Studies related to the molecular diagnosis of COVID-19 and its circulating variants, the introduction of new drugs, the mathematical modeling of epidemiological phenomena, as well as other clinical, genetic, psychological and social investigations.
- Prognosis models that have shed light on the progress of the disease and have served as a guide to approve health actions depending on the epidemiological scenario.
- Molecular studies and studies associated with viral load, which have provided knowledge of the virus and formed the basis for other investigations that make it possible to advance in clinical studies and the effectiveness of our vaccines and vaccine candidates.
- Use and development of drugs such as interferons (Heberferón, Heberón and Nasalferón); early use of these antivirals has prevented most patients from progressing to severe stages of the disease.
- Products such as the peptide Jusvinza and the monoclonal antibodies Nimotuzumab and Itoulizumab helped achieve recovery rates in critically ill patients greater than 80%.
- Study of severe epidemiology and the correlation between incidence and mortality, both by territories and at the country level, which has made it possible to adopt measures depending on the situation.
- Approach to anticoagulation, with the use of Streptokinase.
- Use of artificial intelligence to evaluate radiological examinations and computed tomography of the chest for the diagnosis of pneumonia, from the contagion with COVID-19.
- Studies associated with the behavior of the disease in pediatric ages.
- Innovative combination of Cuban drugs, including the use of Biomodulin T and Surfacen, with a survival rate of 99.9% in treated patients.
- Development of mental health and psychosocial support actions.
- Algorithm of care for convalescent patients, which have multiple associated actions.
- Study of renal, neurological, pulmonary and psychological sequelae produced by COVID-19.
- Treatment with the use of stem cells for inflammatory lesions and pulmonary fibrosis.
- Computer solutions (Autopesquisa Platform, Higia, International Sanitary Control System, PCR Sample Management System, Andariego Vida Geoinformatics Platform).
The deputies Juan Carlos Rodríguez Díaz, from Pinar del Río; the prominent scientist Jorge Berlanga, from Havana; Luis Marino Portuondo Ramírez, from Santiago de Cuba; and Dr. Jorge González Pérez, from Havana, agreed on the valuable work of Cuban science in the face of COVID-19, despite facing obstacles such as the genocidal economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the United States Government, intensified during the pandemic, and praised the work and brilliant thinking of Fidel.
Cristina Luna Morales, deputy for Granma, proposed to recognize – once again – our doctors and nurses, health sector workers and scientists, for their dedication to saving lives in these difficult times. In this regard, the member of the Party’s Political Bureau and president of the ANPP, Esteban Lazo Hernández, suggested taking the deputy’s proposal as an Assembly agreement, which was unanimously approved.