By Ana Laura Arbesú
Havana, Aug 13 (Prensa Latina) Talking about science in Cuba requires infinite pages with a beginning dedicated to the leader of the Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro, who would turn 95 on Friday.
Fidel was the promoter of a mega project in which several institutions that made up the West Havana Scientific Pole converge and where countless achievements have been made.
‘It is a pride in the middle of the special period to inaugurate this center, which is not a luxury, it is a promise of health and well-being for our people, it is a promise of income for our economy,’ Fidel said at the founding ceremony of the Molecular Immunology Center of Cuba, on December 5, 1994.
At the same time, other similar institutions had already started up and now there are more than 30, according to official data.
Their main objective is to promote the development of biotechnology, the medical-pharmaceutical industry and advanced technologies to deal with health problems, food, among other issues.
Since then, biopharmaceuticals and vaccines have been produced in Cuba and exported to five continents.
Just to mention a few, any Cuban child from birth is immunized against 13 diseases, including eight vaccines made in Cuba. The meningococcal and the hepatitis B recombinant vaccines, which have made an important social, economic and strategic contribution, make up the childhood vaccination scheme. On the other hand, the Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology Center (CIGB) developed Heberprot-P, the only drug in the world to treat diabetic foot ulcers and whose validation is currently reaching several countries.
Also from the CIGB are Mambisa and Abdala, the latter is the first vaccine in Cuba and Latin America against Covid-19.
Another major scientific institution, founded in 1987, is that Immunoassay Center, which produces diagnostic kits for HIV/AIDS, hepatitis B and C, alpha-fetoprotein in pregnant women, the detection of hypothyroidism in newborns, and immunoglobulins E, among others.
Its Ultra Micro Analytical Diagnostic System (SUMA) and the corresponding technological equipment, with 23 diagnostic kits applicable to 15 diseases, is used to detect congenital malformations in babies and dengue hemorrhagic fever, as well as the early identification of cervical and prostate cancer.
Cuba’s first steps in immunology, in Fidel Castro’s light, are the ones that allow the country to have other Covid-19 vaccine candidates at present.
In addition to the vaccines produced by the CIGB, the Finlay Vaccines Institute has developed Soberana 01, Soberana 02 and Soberana Plus.
Cuba became the first country in Latin America to present a vaccine developed by its own scientists to fight the Covid-19 pandemic and take it to phase III of clinical trials.
Those palpable achievements in our days, Fidel Castro envisioned them in that speech on the 20th anniversary of the Speleological Society of Cuba, at the Academy of Sciences, on January 15, 1960, when he said that ‘the future of the homeland has to be necessarily of men of science.