The Venezuelan President, Nicolás Maduro, reported on Tuesday that they already have units of Cuban Interferon alfa 2B (IFRrec) to deal with possible cases of COVID-19 that might be detected in the country. “We need to shield the country, prepare ourselves and also have enough medicines for the people who might become affected. Cuba is leading the way, as always, with Interferón, created with Cuban medical technology, and which has had excellent results in its application in China. The Cuban Interferon is already in Venezuela to be used on those patients who may become affected,” he said in an event with doctors from the country for the celebration of the “Day of the Doctor”, broadcast on radio and TV.
The Cuban drug is an antiviral that increases the body’s defenses and is among the 10 medications we have approved by the government of the People’s Republic of China to treat this disease, which has already resulted in more than 116 thousand cases worldwide.
For his part, the head of the Cuban Medical Mission in Venezuela, Julio García, added that there are more than 10,000 units of this drug in the country as part of the Cuba-Venezuela agreement, “to dispense it for any patient who needs it and that it is a product of the Cuba-Venezuela agreement, for the health revolution,” he pointed out.
This medicine was created in 1984 with the beginning of the Cuban Scientific Pole, becoming the first drug of Cuban biotechnology. Particularly in China, there is a production plant for this medicine that has saved the lives of more than three thousand people to date, García said.
20 suspected cases of COVID-19 have been ruled out
Maduro also reported that at least 20 suspected cases of coronavirus have been ruled out by the Venezuelan health authorities, while reinforcing prevention measures and campaigns throughout the territory. “Until this hour, we have ruled out all cases of a virus of this nature, which does not respect borders. Some cases that seemed to have the characteristics of the coronavirus have been ruled out. Since the virus started, we have ruled out about 20 cases, and we must be prepared so that it does not affect the health of the people,” he said.
The president explained that they are in an intense campaign, an action that has allowed the timely application of the diagnoses to those who may present symptoms. He recalled that this new strain has topped other diseases due to a high mortality rate, and in this sense urged the medical authorities, Community Councils and the people in general to take preventive measures -which have been outlined by the government- to avoid it.
Coordination with WHO
In addition, Maduro reported that they keep permanent coordination with the World Health Organization (WHO) to prevent COVID-19 in the country. “We are strictly following the recommendations of the WHO and in coordination 24 hours a day, through the WHO, despite the blockade, we have been able to access all the materials that Venezuela needs,” he said.
Likewise, he announced that thousands of diagnostic tests will arrive in the coming days to reinforce responsiveness. “Many more than the ones we already have,” he said.
Maduro also recalled that there are 46 hospitals in the country in the 23 states plus the Capital District to receive possible cases, while adding that he ordered the distribution of diagnostic tests in all states’ capitals of the country.
“I have approved all the necessary resources despite US sanctions so that the country is equipped with all the tests to protect and prevent this epidemic that is hitting different societies in the world, we are on alert 24/7,” he said.
Similarly, Maduro rejected the accusation from various sectors of politicizing the situation and asked the media to join the educational campaigns, while detailing that he approved resources to provide healthcare centers with the necessary materials for diagnoses.
Featured image: President Maduro with his staff celebrating Medical Doctor’s Day. Prensa Presidencial.
Translated by JRE/EF