Chile’s Daniel Jadue, Mayor of Recoleta - a borough in Santiago - announced Monday that through the People's Pharmacies initiative they will begin importing Cuban medicine in order to help patients infected with the novel coronavirus.
“We started import procedures for Interferon 2b, a Cuban medicine used successfully in China and Spain. This will be for high-risk infected people,” the Mayor from Communist Party said on Twitter.
The mayor pointed out that this will be done in cooperation with the Association of Municipalities with Popular Pharmacies (AChifarp).
In 2015 Jadue implemented the People's Pharmacy - a series of government-run pharmacies with very accessible prices - in the Recoleta borough.
The program was initiated in reaction to the fact that a few private pharmacy chains were ratcheting up the price of medicines and colluding in the process, making it nearly impossible for the average person to afford cures. The program has since spread to over 100 municipalities in the country, including Chile's largest cities.
“This will be for high-risk infected people. We make ourselves available to the municipalities that require it," Jadue added.
The Recombinant Human Interferon Alpha 2B, produced in Cuba, as well as another group of medications, are part of the protocol to care for patients with this disease and any complications that may arise.
The island has been supplying the drug, which is produced with Cuban technology at the Changchun Heber Biological Technology joint venture, located in Jilin, China.
It is currently used in vulnerable and health care personnel as a preventive measure, as well as in patients with COVID-19 in the form of a nebulization, as it is a quick route to reach the lungs and act in the early stages of the infection, as officials highlighted Sunday.
In previous outbreaks of the coronavirus, SARS in 2002 and MERS in 2012, interferons were also being used for the care and treatment of infected people.
Later published studies showed that these viruses, instead of inducing the creation of interferon in the body, decrease the production of these molecules, hence the effectiveness of the drug in treating COVID-19.