Posts Tagged ‘free healthcare’

Cuba Researches to Obtain Cholera Vaccines

October 25, 2013

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Finlay Institute develops two cholera vaccine candidates to prevent this dangerous disease
By: Patricia Cáceres

Cuban Finlay Institute works to develop two cholera vaccine candidates. Cholera is a severe diarrheic disease that causes between 100 000 to 120 000 deaths in the world each year according to data from the Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO).

This news was told to Juventud Rebelde by Deputy Director of Applied Research at the Finlay Institute Doctor Reinaldo Acevedo Grogues during the 20th Latin-American Congress on Pharmacology and Therapeutics (Latinfarma Habana 2013) that is underway at Havana’s Convention Center from October 21 to 25.

Doctor Reinaldo Acevedo Grogues said that the Finlay Institute works to obtain an attenuated vaccine and an inactivated onevaccine for cholera.

The attenuated vaccine is the result of a project of more than 10 years, carried out with the collaboration of the National Scientific Research Center (CENIC), he said.

This vaccine candidate is composed of a cholera live bacterium, which virulence factors have been previously extracted. It is a strain of the disease; but it is not a pathogenic one.

This attenuated vaccine is orally administrated, simulating a natural infection. When the bacterium enters the body, it triggers a response of the immune system without casing the decease to the patient.

In comparison to other vaccines already available in the world, this vaccine will only need a dose to eliminate the virus in 72 hours, the deputy director explains.

The micro-organism continues reproducing within the patient, he adds, and the immune system continues to respond as if it were dealing with several doses, therefore it is not necessary to immunize several times, as it happens in the case of some death inactivated vaccines used all over the world.

The attenuated cholera strain vaccine, which is still in its developing stage, has been assessed in Cuba and Mozambique, reporting good safe and immunogenic registers. A clinical trial in children is planned for the end of the present year, Acevedo said.

Although the vaccine is in an advanced stage of the clinical trial, ,it is not possible to declare yet that Cuba has a vaccine for cholera. None false expectation should be created, he said.

The other vaccine candidate proposed by Finlay Institute is the so- called inactivated vaccine, which in contrast to the previous one, is composed by death organisms.
The deputy director of Productive Development at the Finlay Intitute Sonsire Fernandez Castillo, MSc., said that the inactivated candidate vaccine will be cheaper to produce than the attenuated candidate vaccine.

She said that inactivated candidate is simpler. Live vaccines in general demands substantial resources, technologies, and logistics for its production.

She explains that there is also a fear that administrating live vaccines to immunodepressed patients, such as the ones suffering AIDS, may affect them negatively. Many people believe that the administration of a live active principle may cause problem. Then, the inactivated vaccine is an alternative to them.

The vaccine will be orally administrated in two doses. However; this candidate needs further research time before it can reach patients.

She said that both the attenuated and the inactivated variant are currently in development with its specifications and benefits, though the attenuated is in a more advanced stage.

Translated by ESTI for JuventudRebelde

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Cuba stands to gain as ALBA creates common medical market

August 12, 2013

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Opening the door for Cuba’s pharmaceutical and medical industry to a common market of 70 million people with a GDP of $636 billion, the members of the ALBA bloc officially announced the launch of ALBAmed, a multinational body that includes a regulatory institution and a central registry for pharmaceutical and medical products.

ALBAmed is expected to trigger concerted regional planning for pharmaceutical production and save participating governments — Cuba, Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia and Nicaragua — between 20 and 50 percent in medical purchases, an Ecuadorian foreign ministry official told Spanish news agency efe.

Although Cuba’s pharmaceutical industry is offering many products satisfying basic health needs of people in developing countries, exports have faced major regulatory obstacles — even in ALBA member nations.

In 2011, for instance, Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa pledged his country would buy up to $1.5 billion worth of Cuban-made medical drugs and vaccines that year. The pledge came after the Ecuadorean health minister toured Laboratorios Novatec and Laboratorios Farmacéuticos AICA in Havana; Novatec produces, among others, generic versions of Aspirin and Tamiflu, and AICA makes medical supplies such as vials and aerosols. However, arguing that Cuban products were not registered in their country, Ecuadorean critics were apparently able to significantly reduce these purchases; Correa publicly complained about “sabotage” in his own health ministry.

A regional approval process for pharmaceutical products and a central registry will likely lower such hurdles for Cuban exports.

Cuban pharmaceutical exports are closing in on $500 million per year, and state holding BioCubaFarma plans to double exports to more than $1 billion per year within five years.

Cuba’s pharmaceutical industry stands to gain, as Cuban institutions and officials will likely control much of the regulatory process. The ALBAmed launch during the 12th ALBA summit in Guayaquil, Ecuador did not include an announcement where the Centro Regulador de Medicamentos del ALBA and the Registro Grannacional de los Medicamentos ALBA will be based. Cuba, the ALBA member nation with most pharmaceutical and medical know-how, coordinated the four-year long discussion process leading to the creation of the institutions; Cuba’s regulatory body for medicine, CECMED, has received high ratings from the World Health Organization.

According to the Nicaraguan health ministry, the next ALBA project will be the creation of ALBAfarma, a central purchasing, storage and distribution entity for pharmaceutical and medical goods for Cuba, Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia and Nicaragua. Cuba would also be a top candidate to host ALBAfarma; as the coordinator of medical programs funded by Venezuela, the Cuban government has gained experience with massive medical purchases in third countries.

ALBAmed, according to the Nicaraguan health ministry, also aspires to establish an alliance with other developing nations that produce drugs and medical goods.

The ALBAmed project was launched in 2009. ALBAmed is funded by the Banco del ALBA and designed to provide access to basic medicine for everyone, “with quality, security, efficiency, and at the best prices for ALBA countries,” according to the official ALBA Website. ALBAmed has compiled a provisional list of 489 essential medical products related to treatment of the most widespread diseases, such as AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria.

ALBAmed will now determine the needs of each participating country, and which products will be included. The regulatory institution will be operational in the first quarter of 2014.

Source: CubaStandard.com

Over Three Million Patients Benefit From Operation Milagro

August 9, 2013

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More than three million patients have recovered vision thanks to the Operation Milagro. The second phase will expand the attention to the African peoples without decreasing the number of operations on patients from Latin America and countries of the ALBA
By: Osviel Castro Medel

CARACAS, Venezuela.- More than three million patients across the world, especially in Latin America, have benefited from the Operation Milagro created on July 8, 2004 by Commanders Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez.

Venezuelan Gabriela Soler, national coordinator of this program, which has restored the sight to so many people for free, noted that these figures are due to the quick increase after the initiative was given a new official thrust last June.

Soler said that the second phase comprises of the installation of optics and workshops to carve crystals or lenses, new equipment for some of the surgical centres, a plan to continue to train ophthalmologists and opticians in Venezuela, the establishment of a statistics centre to register the patients’ pathology and those who are prone to undergo eye surgery, among other measures.

In addition, 22 hospitals in Venezuela are expected to serve as pilot headquarters of the operation in this second phase. The goal of this program is to also provide attention to the criminal population in penitentiaries, disabled people who have not been registered and indigenous inhabitants in their regions.

The social program not only includes surgery, but also implies the supply of corrective lenses, inquiries to add people with visual disabilities and a project to prevent eye problems.

The most common health conditions under treatment by the ophthalmologists through these nine years are: cataracts, pterygium, glaucoma and strabismus.

In the act of re-launching the operation, celebrated two months ago, Venezuela’s Executive Vice-president Jorge Arreaza, said that this project, which will entail giving more attention to the African people without reducing the number of patients from Latin America and countries of the ALBA under medical attention, will be under the rectorship of Virginia, Hugo Chavez’ daughter.

The Vice-president praised the professionalism of the Cuban health personnel, which has been the heart of this operation, considered a pride and joy for Commanders Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez.

The Operation Milagro, created in 2004 to treat Venezuelan patients in Cuba, spread to Latin America and across the planet when in August 2005 Fidel and Chavez signed the Sandino Pledge in both countries to assist six million people within ten years – especially from the Third World- with different visual difficulties.

Translated by ESTI for JuventudRebelde


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