Since the production of the recombinant human form in the Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology of Havana, Cuba, in 1986 Interferon Alfa 2-B antiviral drug has broken barriers in public health as an active therapy against causal agents of diseases. an antiviral and antineoplastic drug used to treat a myriad of virus-borne infectious diseases. The drug, actin as an immune system booster, is simply a recombinant form of the human protein interferon alpha-2 reproduced outside of the body by recombinant DNA technology, exploiting microorganism fast growth.
The history of Interferon Alfa 2-B, in Cuban health history, remains prominent as it was the groundbreaking technology that led to the end of hemorrhagic dengue fever outbreak in the country in the 1980s, igniting the rise of the biopharmaceutical sector. Till today, Interferon Alpha 2-B remains a prominent tool in the treatment and elimination of several diseases and has been more recently used to fight and combat the worldwide Covid-19 pandemic.
How Interferon Alfa 2-B Works
As earlier indicated, Interferon Alfa 2-B is a recombinant form of a protein in the human body that naturally works to fight off viruses in the body. The drug works as a stimulator of the immune system and is classified under medicine as an immunotherapeutic agent. Since Interferon Alfa 2-B is a copy of a naturally occurring human protein belonging to the cytokines family, it mimics and acts the way the original protein does.
The function of Interferon Alfa 2-B when administered is to boost the immune system and assist it in fighting off foreign harmful agents. It is a communicator offering assistance to the immune system for an elongated period due to the presence of polyethylene glycol, bound to it. This act of immunotherapy as an immunotherapy treatment is what makes it useful in the treatment of cancer.
Uses of Interferon Alfa 2-B
Interferon Alfa 2-B is used in various ways to fight off several illnesses. With viral diseases, the therapeutic agent has so far been successful in the treatment of chronic hepatitis C and B. It is a popular drug in the treatment of cancer and found useful in fighting and eliminating AIDS-related Kaposi sarcoma, leukaemia, melanoma (cancerous tumours), some genital warts, and hairy cell leukaemia, amongst others.
The drug aids and upregulates the action of antibody stimulation proteins and presenting cells to act against viral proteins and improve health. It can stay in the body longer than typical interferon alfa-b. It enhances the target specificity of macrophages to trap and eliminate viral genetic material and enhances the immune system to act properly. The natural nature of the drug’s mechanism of action makes it very useful in medicine with little possibility of toxicity at the right dosage.
Interferon Alfa 2-B in Treating Covid-19
As the world battled with Covid-19, scientists from all over the world struggled to find a therapeutic solution to reduce the effect of the deadly virus in claiming lives. In Cuba, Interferon Alpha 2-B was a solution which showed considerable promise. During premilinary cohort studies of the efficacy of interferon alfa 2-B on individuals infected with Covid-19, it was discovered that recovery in patients who had received the drug was significantly better than in patients that didn’t receive it as part of their treatment.
As a natural antiviral drug and immune booster, Interferon Alfa 2-B was a lifesaver to the public health sector of Cuba and nations around the world that adopted the drug. Although improvements were seen and experienced, its use in treating coronavirus was not without controversy and criticism.
Critics remained skeptical and indicated that very minimal studies have been conducted on the efficacy of Interferon Alfa 2-B towards eliminating Covid-19. There was also little evidence that long term use of the drug did not pose a future threat to the health of people. The critics even argued that the side effects of the treatment were quite similar to the background symptoms of the Coronavirus infection. However, with China and several other countries purchasing with no news of adverse effects and recorded toxicity, Interferon Alfa 2-B became the wonder drug that mitigated the virus to an extent as research studies for a vaccine progressed.
How Interferon Alfa 2-B Is Administered
Usually, Interferon Alfa 2-B is not advised to be taken without a prescription from a qualified and certified medical practitioner. The antiviral agent is administered intramuscularly or intravenously through injections into the muscle or skin. Shots are usually given in hospitals and medical centres by doctors or medical practitioners. However, with technology and multi-dose pens present for chronic infected sickly patients, it could be used in the home too. But it must be noted that the directions of the manufacturer and prescription by a doctor must be followed judiciously to avoid overdose and errors leading to medical complications.
Is Interferon Alfa 2-B Toxic
Generally, Interferon Alfa 2-B is not toxic to use, neither has there been reports of the adverse effects of the drug. Nonetheless, like every other drug, Immunotherapy has its side effects and specifications for use. It has been noted that sometimes, there could be swellings in the site of injection which should naturally reduce. But if the swelling gets worse, it is advised to see a doctor.
Some of its major side effects include flu-like symptoms including fatigue, fever, headache, nausea, dizziness, dry mouth, and even upset stomach upset. The side effects should last about 24hours after use. If after 24 hours, the side effects persist, patients are advised to see their doctor. Taking Interferon Alfa 2-B must be supplemented with the intake of fluids to boost immunity and strength.
Can Everyone Use Interferon Alfa 2-B?
It is very important for medical purposes to know that although everyone can use Interferon Alfa 2-B, some predisposing factors like the health status of a patient must be considered before using the drug. Typically, pregnant women, partners whose partners are pregnant, individuals with kidney disease and patients allergic to ribavirin are advised not to use it. Therefore, when on a visit to the doctor, it is of essence that you provide the right information to avoid complications with immunotherapy use.
Interferon Alfa 2-B remains an active antiviral and antineoplastic therapeutic drug in fighting against viral diseases and cancer, improving the public health sector. The immunotherapeutic agent is excellent at boosting the immune system and eliminating viral proteins and attachment mechanism, improving the health of users and sickly individuals. Nonetheless, indiscriminate use without a prescription must be avoided.
The incidence of lung cancer has risen dramatically. It is already projected that near two million new lung cancer cases will occur in the United States resulting in approximately half a million fatal outcomes in 2018 (1). According to the data provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) lung cancer has been assessed as a second leading type of cancer in both men and women. Screening modalities of contemporary medicine have not yet addressed the issue of diagnosing lung cancer in early stages, resulting in capturing this condition as a progressive disease in most of the patients. Conventional treatment of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) including surgery, chemotherapy, and radiotherapy has very limited efficacy in advanced stages of NSCLC and has been associated with serious toxicities. Additional problem represents cancer recurrence after conventional treatment occurring in approximately 40 percent of patients after a period of one year (2).
Cuba has produced 33 new drugs for treating cancer by the year 2012 (3). The fastgrowing medical scientific research in Cuba continues to produce innovative medicinal products, aiming to significantly increase the quality of life in patients suffering from most complex and serious medical conditions.
An interesting and novel therapeutic approach that includes programming of body’s own immune system to fight cancer cells was investigated in Cuba. The research prompted the development of immune therapies including therapeutic vaccines. Vaxira is a therapeutic vaccine developed to treat NSCLC. The medicinal product was registered in Latin American countries in 2013, after promising results shown in phase II/III study involving patients with advanced and progressive NSCLC (4). In this study, patients that received Vaxira showed a significant increase in overall survival comparing to patients who received placebo. Another study that involved 180 patients investigated the effects of Vaxira following conventional treatment for late-stage, recurrent NSCLC. The results clearly showed decrease in the progression of NSCLC which directly resulted in prolonged survival periods in patients who previously received the first-line treatment for NSCLC (5). Finally, a randomized, open-label clinical trial that involved 1082 patients with advanced NSCLC, who received standard first-line therapy, showed the response of stable disease after administering Vaxira (6).
The safety profile of Vaxira was also evaluated in clinical trials described above. In a phase I study of Vaxira for NSCLC that was focused on patient safety, no serious adverse events that were considered to be related to treatment have occurred. Related events included local reactions at the administration site including pain, redness, and induration. Reactions were mild and reversible in nature (7). Toxicity in more advanced clinical trials of Vaxira was similar to those in the phase I study described above. Cases of a headache, joint pain, and fever were also observed, however, all events were mild to moderate in nature.
Vaxira was initially developed in Cuba. The well-recognized efficacy of this medicinal product in the treatment of NSCLC prompted multiple investigations for a wide variety of conditions including melanoma, breast, and lung cancer at different locations worldwide (Spain, Brasil, Singapore).
It has been recognized that malignant cells express epidermal growth factor (EGF) receptor in higher amounts than non-malignant cells. This particular characteristic of tumor cells enables them to grow more rapidly and spread more aggressively (8). CIMAvax-EGF vaccine expresses anti-cancer activity by stimulating the production of anti-EGF antibodies, which inactivate the circulating EGF directly inhibiting the proliferative nature of malignant tumor (9).
The effectiveness of CIMAvax-EGF was demonstrated in Phase II clinical trial, conducted in 80 patients with NSCLC, who were previously treated with standard platinum-based chemotherapy. Patients treated with CIMAvax-EGF showed increased survival trends (10). A Phase III open-label efficacy study that was conducted on the sample of 405 patients that suffered from a late-stage NSCLC showed a significant increase of 5-year survival in those who received the vaccine. The 5-year survival rate for vaccinated patients was approximately 16% in comparison to control group, where 5-year survival was 6% (11). Interestingly, it has been noted that following vaccination, levels of EGF remained low in patients with long-term survival (more than 2 years). EGF level proved to be a powerful prognostic factor for overall survival and cancer recurrence (12). CIMAvax-EGF can be administered concomitantly with standard platinum-based cytotoxic treatment for NSCLC. It is advised to administer the vaccine during or prior to platinum-based treatment in order to achieve the best possible response and efficacy (13).
The safety profile of CIMAvax-EGF was evaluated in the aforementioned clinical trials. The most frequent reactions associated with the use of CIMAvax-EGF were local administration site reactions including pain and redness, as well as systemic reactions such as fever, headache, chills, and shortness of breath. It is clear that the benefits of this vaccine outweigh the risks related to the administration of CIMAvax-EGF.
Due to the extensive therapeutic potential of CIMAvax-EGF, a Phase IV clinical trial was launched that enrolled more than 1000 patients with NSCLC (14). It was shown that the use of this vaccine is safe and beneficial to patients with NSCLC. Preliminary evidence suggested that besides the increase in overall survival, CIMAvax-EGF improved the quality of life of enrolled patients by increasing the emotional well-being and reducing symptoms and signs of fatigue.
This revolutionary medicinal product prompted new research focused on other types of cancers including prostate cancer and gave hope both to the scientific community and patients that the cure for NSCLC is on the horizon.
1. Cancer statistics, 2018. Siegel RL, Miller KD, Jemal A. s.l. : CA Cancer J Clin, 2018, Vol. 68(1). 7.
2. Survival after recurrent nonsmall-cell lung cancer after complete pulmonary resection. Sugimura H, Nichols FC, Yang P, Allen MS, Cassivi SD, Deschamps C, Williams BA, Pairolero PC. s.l. : Ann Thorac Surg, 2007, Vol. 83(2). 409.
3. Profit vs health? Comparing the business models of Cuban and US pharma. Baden, Denise, Davies, Courtney and Wilkinson.s.l. : Monograph (Working Paper), Southampton, GB University of Southampton 12pp, 2015.
4. A randomized, multicenter, placebo-controlled clinical trial of racotumomab-alum vaccine as switch maintenance therapy in advanced non-small cell lung cancer patients. Alfonso, S et al. s.l. : Clin Cancer Res, 2014, Vol. 20(14). 3660-71.
5. Active immunotherapy in patients with progressive disease (PD) after first-line therapy. Gomez, R.E., Alfonso, S et al. s.l. : 49th Annu Meet Am Soc Clin Onco (ASCO), 2013. Abst 3086.
6. Trial proactive: A prospective, randomized, multicenter, open label phase III study of active specific immunotherapy with racotumomab plus best support treatment versus best support treatment in patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer. Roberto E Gomez, Amparo Macias, TaniaCrombet, Ana Maria Vazquez et al. s.l.: Journal of Clinical Oncology.
7. An anti-idiotype vaccine elicits a specific response to N-glycolyl sialic acid residues of glycoconjugates in melanoma patients. Alfonso, M et al. s.l. : J Immunol, 2002, Vol. 165(5). 2523-9.
8. Molecular epidemiology of lung cancer and geographic variations with special reference to EGFR mutations. Mitsudomi, T. s.l. : Transl Lung Cancer Res, 2014, Vol. 3(4). 205-11.
9. Clinical development and perspectives of CIMAvax EGF, Cuban vaccine for non-small-cell lung cancer therapy.Rodríguez PC, Rodríguez G, González G, Lage A. s.l. : MEDICC Rev, 2010, Vol. 12(1). 17-23.
10. Phase II randomized controlled trial of an epidermal growth factor vaccine in advanced non-small-cell lung cancer. Neninger Vinageras E, de la Torre A, Osorio Rodríguez M, Catalá Ferrer M, Bravo I, Mendoza del Pino M, Abreu Abreu D, Acosta Brooks S, Rives R, del Castillo Carrillo C, González Dueñas M, Viada C, García Verdecia B, Crombet Ramos T, González Marinello G. s.l. : J Clin Oncol, 2008, Vol. 26(9). 1452-8.
11. A Phase III Clinical Trial of the Epidermal Growth Factor Vaccine CIMAvax-EGF as Switch Maintenance Therapy in Advanced Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer Patients. Rodriguez, PC et al. s.l. : Clin Cancer Res, 2016, Vol. 22(15). 3782-90.
12. Biomarkers related to immunosenescence: relationships with therapy and survival in lung cancer patients. Saavedra D, García B, Lorenzo-Luaces P, González A, Popa X, Fuentes KP, Mazorra Z, Crombet T, Neninger E, Lage A. s.l. : Cancer Immunol Immunother, 2016, Vol. 65(1). 37-45.
13. Combining an EGF-based cancer vaccine with chemotherapy in advanced nonsmall cell lung cancer. Neninger E, Verdecia BG, Crombet T, Viada C, Pereda S, Leonard I, Mazorra Z, Fleites G, González M, Wilkinson B, González G, Lage A. s.l. : J Immunother, 2009, Vol. 32(1). 92-9.
14. CIMAvax EGF (EGF-P64K) vaccine for the treatment of non-small-cell lung cancer. Crombet Ramos T, Rodríguez PC, Neninger Vinageras E, Garcia Verdecia B, Lage Davila A. s.l. : Expert Rev Vaccines, 2015, Vol.14(10). 1303-11.
The Doctor in Dentistry has a mandatory pre-medical Spanish speaking students unless showing the mastery of the Spanish Language, demonstrated through a proficiency test (oral and written) at a price of 75 CUC which is not included in the price of any of the under grade careers
The Nursing has a mandatory pre-medical Spanish proficiency course for non spanish speaking students unless showing the mastery of the Spanish language, demonstrated through a pro-efficiency test (oral and written) at a price of 75.00 CUC which is included in the price of any of the Under Grade careers
Cuba is renowned for its exceptional healthcare services, and the Cira Garcia Central Clinic in Havana stands as a prime example. Holding the prestigious ISO-9001:2008 quality certificate, this clinic has successfully met stringent international standards, ensuring safety, efficiency, and top-quality care for patients. In order to maintain its esteemed accreditation, the clinic continuously improves its organizational performance, reflecting years of collective effort.
To ensure patient-centered care, the Nursing program at the clinic has made Spanish proficiency a mandatory requirement for non-Spanish speaking students. However, students can demonstrate their mastery of the Spanish language by passing a comprehensive pro-efficiency test (oral and written). This test comes at a cost of 75.00 CUC, which is already included in the price of any of the Undergraduate programs available.
Quality Healthcare Services:
The Cira Garcia Central Clinic excels in providing exceptional healthcare services to patients, including diplomats, foreign businessmen residing in Cuba, and international visitors seeking Cuban medical expertise. Last year alone, the clinic attended to a significant number of patients, with 953 receiving ambulatory care, 450 undergoing major operations, 770 undergoing minor surgeries, and an additional 885 receiving emergency care.
The clinic’s commitment to patient safety and satisfaction is evident in its monthly assessments, which follow well-defined protocols. These assessments aim to optimize patient care and safety, making the clinic a preferred choice for individuals seeking accredited healthcare institutions in Cuba.
The reputation of the Cira Garcia Central Clinic extends beyond Cuba’s borders, attracting patients from various countries. Angola tops the list with the highest number of patients, followed by Canada, Italy, Spain, and Russia. Many visitors specifically choose the clinic for medical checkups, health programs, orthopedics, trauma, and cosmetic surgery.
Facilities at the Clinic:
With an expansive area of over 7,200 m2, the clinic boasts three levels of hospitalization facilities. Within these levels, there are 39 private rooms, each equipped with state-of-the-art amenities. The suites feature electronic beds, direct oxygen and central aspiration capabilities, companion beds, 24/7 hot and cold water, air conditioning, satellite TV, night lights, intercommunication with the nursery post, equipment for disabled individuals, and safe boxes.
Cutting-Edge Surgical Theaters:
The clinic’s modern surgical theaters house advanced technology and highly skilled professionals, enabling the delivery of excellent medical services. In addition to the surgical theaters, the clinic offers pre-anesthesia and post-anesthesia recovery sections, a progressive care unit for intensive and intermediate care, clinical labs specializing in pathologic anatomy and microbiology with quick response equipment, as well as a comprehensive lab for applied physiology and inner image services.
Comprehensive Medical Services:
The Cira Garcia Central Clinic provides a wide range of medical services, ensuring comprehensive healthcare for patients. The services offered include diagnostic check-ups, consultations with leading specialists, various surgeries (general, neurosurgery, minimally invasive, and radiosurgery), orthopedics, gynecology, plastic surgery, urology, otolaryngology, autoimmune disease treatments (such as multiple sclerosis, systemic lupus erythematosus, and rheumatoid arthritis), diabetes mellitus and diabetic foot treatments, dentistry, and physical rehabilitation protocols.
Additional Services and Facilities:
To enhance the overall patient experience, the clinic offers convenient additional services and facilities. These include a cafeteria for refreshments, laundry service, transportation options such as ambulances and microbuses, and assistance with migration procedures.
The mission of the Cira Garcia Central Clinic is to provide health services of exceptional scientific quality, infused with honesty and deep human compassion. The clinic aims to serve the diplomatic corps accredited in Cuba, foreign businessmen established in the country, and individuals seeking the renowned scientific progress and prestige of Cuban medicine.
CubaHeal Medical is a global organization specialized in facilitating medical treatments, medical education, in addition to patient and student care in the Republic of Cuba. CubaHeal is a loyal supporter of the Republic of Cuba, the Cuban people, the Cuban revolution, and the Cuban revolutionary leadership.