Stem cells to treat post COVID-19 lung disease in Cuba.

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Studies conducted in different countries have corroborated that a certain number of patients recovered from COVID-19, mainly those who reached serious condition requiring admission to intensive care units, presenting some type of long-term effect, particularly lung lesions.

Taking into account reports issued on the subject by prestigious international scientific centers, Cuba has also been paying special attention to the medical follow-up of discharged patients, with the aim of detecting in time any damage to the lungs, and preventing its progression toward irreversible respiratory insufficiency.

Among such efforts is the novel clinical trial recently begun at the National Institute of Haematology and Immunology (IHI) of the Ministry of Public Health (Minsap), under the direction of Dr. Consuelo Macías Abraham, director of the institution, who responded to Granma’s questionnaire as follows:

– What is the nature of the clinical trial being conducted at IHI?

It consists of using adult stem cells in the COVID-19 convalescent patient with proven lung lesions. We have been able to include in the study patients who were in serious or critical condition during their hospitalization, presenting acute respiratory symptoms. In these patients, the presence of inflammatory or fibrotic lesions, as long term consequences of infection by the new coronavirus, were detected by means of the high resolution Computerized Axial Tomography (CAT).

The patient is visited at home to explain what the investigation is about. Once consent has been obtained, the patient is transferred to the IHI, where they undergo a comprehensive clinical and laboratory evaluation, including functional respiratory tests.

Then the patient is sent to the National Institute of Oncology and Radiobiology (NIOR) to perform the CAT to look for any injury.

After a comprehensive evaluation of the case by a multidisciplinary team including immunologists, pulmonologists and imaging specialists, the decision is made to apply stem cell treatment.

– What type of stem cells are used?

When the patient is included in the study, treatment begins by injecting Granulocyte Colony Stimulating Factor, Leukocim, a product manufactured at the Center for Molecular Immunology, to achieve the mobilization of stem cells from the bone marrow to peripheral blood.

This product has proven safety and efficacy in its use, with the same purpose, for haematopoietic transplantation. Subsequently, the patient’s blood is extracted, and the mononuclear cells are separated and concentrated.

Within this cell pool there are haematopoietic stem cells and other non-haematopoietic cells, also from the medullary stromal, which include so-called mesenchymal cells and other very small cells called VSELS, which have immunoregulatory properties and promote the disappearance of lesions and the reconstitution of lung tissue.

The cells are infused intravenously. We evaluate the patient after one month and then again after six months to determine the clinical efficacy of this cell therapy.

– What results do you hope to obtain with the treatment?

The purpose is to eliminate or diminish the interstitial inflammatory or fibrotic lung lesions left by the infection and prevent the progression of the disease, thereby improving quality of life. This treatment will benefit all Cuban patients who were in serious or critical condition with proven pulmonary lesions. We have already treated patients from Havana and have begun to receive patients from other provinces.

– What would be the significance of this contribution for the country’s Public Health?

Without a doubt, it would represent a new achievement of Cuban science, as it would allow for the extension of this treatment to other chronic lung diseases, such as Chronic Obstructive Disease and Idiopathic Fibrosis, among others.

Plus, it would open new horizons in the application of cell therapy in Cuba.

– Can you explain what the term Regenerative Medicine means and when did its development begin in our country?

Regenerative Medicine is a biological discipline, which replaces or regenerates cells, tissues, or organs with the purpose of restoring or establishing normal function. It is developed through cell therapy, bioactive soluble factors, gene transplantation and tissue engineering.

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India bets on Cuba’s Itolizumab med to treat Covid-19 patients.

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New Delhi, June 1 (PL) India will carry out clinical trials in six of its hospitals for Cuba’s Itolizumab med to reduce the mortality of Covid-19 disease; unfolded local press this Monday.

 

The Itolizumab drug is a molecule developed by the Havana Center for Molecular Immunology for the treatment of lymphomas and leukemias, and is now encouraged by Cuban experts as a possible therapy in the Covid-19 treatment, revealed The Print newspaper.

India’s largest biotech company and Asia’s leader Biocon recently received permission from the Indian drug regulator to use the med against the Covid-19 pandemic.

‘Itolizumab had been used in India for some years and its safety was established. Our partners in Cuba, with whom the company began developing the drug, used it in Covid-19 patients. The initial data look quite promising,’ said Dr. Sandeep Athalye, senior Vice President and Chief Medical Director at Biocon Biologics.

The company licensed the drug as an early-stage asset, and the company’s scientific team began developing the antibody for autoimmune diseases in 2006 in India.

Later, successful patient studies made possible the medicine be approved for marketing in India to treat plaque psoriasis in 2013 under the brand name Alzumab.

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Cuba denounces increased US aggression.

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cossioHavana, Jun 1 (P L) A high official from of Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Monday said Cuba’s future ties with the United States will depend on what the US political class and other sectors allow the White House to do.

In an interview with Prensa Latina, Ambassador Carlos Fernández de Cossio, director of the United States Relation Department at the Cuban Foreign Ministry, disqualified the inclusion of Cuba in a list of nations that supposedly do not collaborate to fight terrorism.

‘(?) In any sense, the US aggression against Cuba has undoubtedly increased. Now, what can be expected from the future, how far could the present US government go, that depends on what the US political class allows (?)’, he stated.

Fernandez de Cossio noted that ‘there are many US sectors and politicians, both Democrats and Republicans, who supported the rapprochement with Cuba that took place in 2015 and 2016, which they considered a positive step for US foreign policy.’

‘Therefore, the US Government and its conduct can go as far as these groups and sectors within the United States allow’, he said.

Regarding the terrorist attack on the Cuban Embassy in Washington on April 30 and, paradoxically, the US decision to include Cuba in a questioned list, Fernández de Cossío stressed that this was just a ‘flimsy and mendacious’ excuse.

‘There are bilateral agreements signed in recent years under which there are concrete and recent expressions of cooperation with the US Government about fighting terrorism. Some of the examples are very beneficial, especially for the United States,’ he said.

‘The most important thing is that this is a unilateral list, a US State Department’s list that is not endorsed, recognized or even approved by any international organization’, Fernández de Cossio stressed.

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Cuba condemns terrorism and political manipulation.

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Statement of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs states its strong rejection of the slanderous inclusion of Cuba in the U.S. State Department list of countries which are allegedly not cooperating fully with U.S. efforts against terrorism that was made public on May 13, 2020 and strongly rejected by President Miguel Díaz-Canel. Bermúdez.

This is a unilateral and arbitrary listing with no basis, authority or international support whatsoever which, as is known, only aids attempts to defame and pressure countries refusing to concede to the will of the U.S. government in making their sovereign decisions.

The main argument presented by the U.S. government is the presence in Cuban territory of members of the delegation to peace talks of the National Liberation Army (ELN) of Colombia.

As is well known, the delegation to peace talks between the National Liberation Army (ELN) of Colombia are in Cuba after Ecuador suddenly renounced its commitment to continue as the venue of these talks and, at the request of the Colombian government and the ELN, the venue for the peace process was moved to Havana in May of 2018.

These peace talks began on February 7, 2017 in Quito, Ecuador. Cuba, along with Brazil, Chile, Ecuador, Venezuela and Norway, has served as a guarantor of the peace process as requested by the parties.

After Mr. Iván Duque Márquez was inaugurated as President of Colombia on August 7, 2018, representatives of his government, beginning on August 8 that year and until January 2019, had several exchanges with Cuba and the ELN delegation to the peace talks, with respect to continuing the dialogue that had initiated during the Santos Presidency – a process during which our country showed appropriate discretion and acted strictly in its capacity as a guarantor.

Immediately after the bombing of the Police Cadet Academy in Bogota on Jaunary 17, 2019, the president of the Republic of Cuba and our Minister of Foreign Affairs expressed our condolences to the Colombian government and people and particularly to relatives of the victims of the bombing, and reaffirmed Cuba’s strong position rejecting and condemning all terrorist acts, methods and practices in all forms and manifestations.

The Colombian government subsequently took political and legal action against the ELN delegation to the peace talks in Cuba and halted the peace dialogue. Additionally, a decision was made to ignore the Protocol in Case of Rupture, thus openly abandoning and violating commitments made by that state with the other six nations that had signed the accords.

The Protocol in Case of Rupture was signed within the framework of the peace talks held by the government of Colombia, the ELN and guarantor countries on April 5, 2016. It guarantees the safe return of the guerrilla delegation to Colombia if the talks should come to an end.

The Cuban government has stated and continues to state today that, based on the agreed upon documents, the Protocol should be implemented. This stance, which is widely supported by the international community and by circles committed to reaching a negotiated settlement in the Colombian armed conflict, is an accepted universal practice which has been repeatedly ratified as it abides by international law and commitments by the country that serves as a guarantor and the site of the talks. It is the non-implementation of this Protocol that has obliged ELN delegation members to the peace talks to remain in Cuba. Continue reading

Favourable scenario vs. Covid-19 in Cuba is due to joint effort.

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Havana, May 29 (PL) Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez today stressed that the island maintains a favorable scenario in dealing with the Covid-19, as a result of the joint work of several sectors.

 

In his Twitter account, the Foreign Minister highlighted the professionalism and dedication of the health and science personnel, as well as the support shown by the people for the Government’s measures.

On Friday, the Caribbean nation reported, for the fifth consecutive day, zero deaths, while the number of patients recovered rose to 1,760, for 87.4 percent.

The day before, President Miguel Diaz-Canel, in a working meeting with directors of scientific and innovation centres, praised the sector’s capacities and its contributions to the fight against the pandemic.

The president said that the results of the investigations show the possibilities the island has in this field to face complex situations.

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Cuban foreign minister condemns death of African-American in US.

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Cuban foreign minister condemns death of African-American in US

Havana, May 29 (P L) Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez on Thursday described as a brutal assassination the death of African-American George Floyd, who was a victim of a white police officer who pressed his neck with his knee in the US city of Minneapolis.

 

‘George Floyd ‘did not die’. He was brutally assassinated. Unfortunately it is a story that African-Americans know,’ the foreign minister wrote on his Twitter account.

According to Rodriguez, the 46-year-old man was unarmed and was shouting ‘I can’t breathe’, but that was not enough to prevent an injustice.

‘The color of the skin should not define us,’ the head of Cuban diplomacy added in his twit, which he published using the #BlackLivesMatter hashtag.

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Cuba defends life.

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Cuba’s accomplishments in the COVID-19 battle do not appear in major media headlines these days. Once again, silence reigns as we defeat the virus, blow by blow, sparing no effort or resource, despite the ironclad U.S. blockade that persists, damages, limits and makes everything more expensive. Amidst this relentless struggle for our people, we also share with those in need beyond our borders.

These achievements are made possible by the Revolution, which with great sacrifice has supported the development of our public health system – universal, free and accessible to 100% of the Cuban population, focused on human beings and not profit.

Although the battle is far from over, Cuba has managed to remain in a favorable position in the fight against the pandemic. Our biopharmaceutical industry and other scientific centers are currently conducting 70 research projects and clinical trials, in addition to producing medicines to the treat COVID patients, which have been requested by dozens of nations.

“The use of two novel drugs to control the hyper-inflammatory reaction that can occur in the lungs, has increased survival rates of patients in serious condition to more than 80% and for those in critical condition to more than 75%,” reported Minister of Public Health José Ángel Portal Miranda.

This is not the reality for sister peoples across our continent, and we cannot remain indifferent. The World Health Organization recently declared Latin America as the new epicenter of the pandemic, adding to the existing burden we bear as the most unequal region on the planet, a result of decades of plunder of our natural resources and neoliberal policies.

As we have done previously in the Non-Aligned Movement Forum and the World Health Assembly, Cuba yesterday, May 28, reiterated our solidarity with the peoples of the region and of the world, during a Latin American and Caribbean Parliaments online working meeting

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Cuba and China: A solid bond of mutual solidarity.

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The historical ties between the Communist Parties, governments and peoples of Cuba and China, celebrating the 60th anniversary diplomatic relations this year, have stood the test of time, supported by the deep friendship that sustains them.

The solidarity shared by the two nations during the current pandemic was recognized in a conversation between President Miguel Díaz-Canel and his counterpart Xi Jinping last February, when they exchanged views on the subject and discussed ways to further promote bilateral relations.

During that dialogue, Xi noted that after the initial outbreak of COVID-19, Army General Raul Castro Ruz, first secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba Central Committee, and Diaz-Canel, immediately expressed their solidarity, while the President made a special visit to the Chinese embassy on the island to confirm Cuba’s support.

More recently, the sister nation sent donations for our public health system, while Cuba has shared our positive experiences in the COVID battle to Chinese. Continue reading

The Army of the White Gowns deserves to be nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.

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A group of Cuban healthcare workers will assume duties in the Western Cape in the coming week, assisting the province in its fight against Covid-19. Picture: Armand Hough/African News Agency (ANA) 

A few days ago the mayor of the small Italian town of Crema, Cde Stefania Bonaldi, joined the growing calls by organisations of the world such as the alternative student organisation, Noi Restiamo, Communist network, the French organisation Cuba Linda, the Caribbean Studies Association, and many others for the nomination of The Henry Reeve International Medical Brigade (HRIMB) of Cuba for the prestigious Nobel Peace Prize.

The growing calls in more than 50 countries of all continents for the nomination of the Army of the White Gowns is part of the worldwide effort by the world community of nations to recognise the leadership role of the Cuban revolution in our struggle for the advancement of human solidarity and internationalism.

This magnificent gesture is in appreciation of the extraordinary humanitarian efforts by the Cuban brigade throughout the world to fight the disastrous pandemic of the coronavirus. Through the interventions of the Cuban brigade, many countries saw a massive decline in the number of fatalities and those infected by the pandemic.

The mayor echoed the gracious words of humility after the beautiful brigade of the men and women of the Army of the White Gowns marched through the streets of his small town, inspired by the humility of the residents and confident that together as the people of the world we shall triumph over the challenges posed by this deadly disease. Indeed the Army of the White Gowns is planting the revolutionary seeds of solidarity and internationalism into the streets and homes of the world metropolis.

During the occasion of the historic ceremony which was held at the Duomo Square, in her emotional and befitting tribute to the outstanding feats of the heroic men and women from the homeland of Commander in Chief Comrade Fidel Castro, the mayor expressed the following profound and revolutionary words: “When you came here you said that your homeland is the world, so from now on you will always be our compatriots, in the vast world, often mistreated by the absence of the supreme value of solidarity.”

The people of Lombardy have indeed taught the world that the highest form of wisdom is our virtue and kindness to humanity, that when you give, you must forget and when you receive, you must always remember. They have taught the world that the hand that gives is better than the one that receives.

The people of this great region of the Republic of Italy have done so as a testimony that the Army of the White Gowns is like a mountain eagle, for they have proven to the world that they do not know any fear and are there to walk the difficult pathways of our Mother Earth to salvage humanity. They are the true friends of humanity and indeed belong to the heroic generations of humanity, the past, the present and the future.

The Henry Reeve Medical Brigade has proven repeatedly, for several decades, that quality healthcare can be finally and permanently established internationally, as an inalienable human right. Since its formation, the medical personnel of the Brigade, now composed of 7,400 voluntary healthcare workers, have been on the coal face of our struggle to ensure that the people of the world get better health services.

Their first mission was in Pakistan assisting the earthquake victims in 2005. Since then they have been in many countries hit by earthquakes, hurricanes, floods and epidemics. Cuba has been sending more doctors to the developing world than the World Health Organisation, saving no less than 80 000 lives in the last 15 years by putting their own lives at risk.

One of their most heroic acts was in 2014-2015 when the Brigade sent over 400 health workers to West Africa to confront the dangerous Ebola pandemic. In recognition, the World Health Organization awarded them the prestigious Dr Lee Jong-Wook Memorial Prize for Public Health.

Not only that, but Cuba is also home to the largest international medical school in the world, the Latin American School of Medicine (ELAM) which since its founding in 1999, has trained over 35,000 doctors from 138 countries, including from the US. Many of those graduates of ELAM are now part of the frontline of health professionals treating Covid-19 patients throughout the work.  Continue reading

Hygiene material shipment for Cuban hospitals praised in Brazil.

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Brasilia, May 27 (P L) The International Committee for Peace, Justice and Dignity for the Peoples – Brazil Chapter praised on Wednesday the initiative of the Brazil-Cuba Business Chamber and friends for sending cleaning and hygiene products to hospitals in Cuba.

 

It reiterates that Brazilians working in solidarity committees with the island are grateful to those who sent these products to help Cuban health centers.

It points out that Cuba continues to fight the Covid-19 pandemic and with its limited resources contributes, with the renowned Henry Reeve Internationalist Brigade contingent, to dozens of other countries suffering from the disease.

This week, the Writers’ Union of the State of Sao Paulo considered it a necessary demonstration of justice to award the Nobel Peace Prize to the Cuban medical brigades Henry Reeve for their work in disasters and epidemics in the world.

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