Developed in 1986 by a team of researchers from the Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (CIGB), human recombinant Interferon Alfa 2B has benefited thousands of Cuban patients since its introduction into the national health system, and is one of the drugs currently used to combat the new coronavirus COVID-19.
Dr. Eulogio Pimentel, CIGB director general, told Granma newspaper that the product has shown its efficiency and safety in the therapy of viral diseases, such as Hepatitis B and C, Herpes zoster (also known as shingles), HIV-AIDS and Dengue.
It has the property of interfering with viral multiplication within cells and has also been used in the treatment of different types of carcinomas.
The choice of the Chinese medical authorities to use it against COVID-19 is due to the fact that this virus generally decreases the natural production of interferon in the human body and the Cuban drug is capable of supplying said deficiency, strengthening the immune system of patients afflicted by the contagious respiratory ailment that it causes, Pimentel said.
Based on a technology transfer made by CIGB to the Asian country, the Cuba-China joint venture ChangHeber was created in 2003, with headquarters in the city of Changchun. Ten years later a modern plant was inaugurated there, which currently manufactures biotechnological products created in the Caribbean island, including Interferon Alfa 2B.