Zuby Malik is an unlikely candidate to violate international law. A 78-year-old mother of four with a crown of silver hair, she is a retired obstetrician-gynecologist with a penchant for order.
Doctors in South Africa are reporting that a 9-year-old girl, who was infected with HIV at birth, has “seemingly been cured.”
Following her birth, she was given a round of treatment and has been off drugs for eight-and-a-half years without symptoms or signs of an active virus. Most people need a daily dose of treatment to manage the virus and prevent it from destroying their immune system and or developing into Aids.
Over time, levels of the virus became undetectable and her treatment was stopped after 40 weeks. But, unlike anybody else on the study – the virus has not returned.
Early therapy, which attacks the virus before it has a chance to fully establish itself, has been cited in child “cure” cases twice before.
The Forum saw the participation of 10 companies, during which representatives also discussed licensing Cuban products for the Russian market; supporting scientific projects; technology transfers; and the establishment of joint ventures between the two counties
The establishment of joint ventures in the fields of medicine and pharmaceuticals, between Russia and Cuba, directed toward strengthening beneficial trade among entities responsible for the sale and production of equipment, medicines and state-of-the-art technologies – with visible results – was just one of several issues discussed during the First Cuba-Russia Medical-Pharmaceutical Bilateral Business Forum recently held in Havana.
The event aimed to foster alliances for the development of value chains between entities in both countries; provide Russian business people with up-to-date information on Cuba’s medical-pharmaceutical sector; and identify opportunities for collaboration between research universities and institutions, technological parks and regulatory and legal frameworks.
The Forum saw the participation of 10 companies, during which representatives also discussed licensing Cuban products for the Russian market; supporting scientific projects; technology transfers; and the establishment of joint ventures between the two counties, with Russia providing the direct foreign investment for the production of medicines and pharmaceuticals on the island.
Also addressed was the establishment – under business project licenses – of Cuban-Russian medical-pharmaceutical enterprises as well as projects with academic institutions from the Eurasian country for the development of medicines.
In addition to the signing of agreements between various companies, the event also saw the identification of raw material suppliers, equipment suppliers, and service and consultation providers. There was also discussion around developing medical treatments and improving quality of life for patients in both countries.
Speaking to Granma International, Marketing Director of the Cuban state enterprise group BioCubaFarma, Mayda Maurí Pérez, noted that Russia represents a strategic partner for the entity.
“This is an extremely important event given the close level of existing relations between the two countries, and the opportunities and synergies maintained between them, above all toward strengthening the pharmaceutical sector, vital to our economic development.”
The director highlighted that there are important examples of prior bilateral efforts in the distribution of Cuban medicines registered in Russia, with good prospects of establishing a federal program, which would give Russian patients the opportunity to benefit from innovative Cuban-developed products.
“This forum has given us the chance to have the participation of the most important, advanced, and prominent Russian companies in the biopharmaceutical sector, with which we have identified interests ranging from purchases of supplies and equipment produced in Russia to bilateral agreements for products from the Cuban biopharmaceutical industry to be sold there,” she added.
Maurí also mentioned various important industry results at a national level, such as the creation of monoclonal anti-bodies to treat cancer, above all in the form of therapeutic injectables, with the potential to be produced in Russian facilities.
She went on to emphasize treatments for international patients offered by the Cuban Medical Services entity in specialized facilities on the island.
The Ramón Pando Ferrer Ophthalmology Institute’s Ocular Microsurgery Center (CMO) has treated almost a million patients since its inception in 1988.