The island’s health authorities have reported only two deaths related to the virus in the last nine days in the presence of more than 200 “actively ill” patients, a sign that the worst stage of the epidemic in the country has been brought under control.
According to the government, the decline in deaths is largely due to the fact that in April the use of two drugs began, which show a good effect in overcoming the so-called. “cytokine storm” – a dangerous overreaction of the immune system, in which healthy tissue is under attack along with the invading virus.
One preparation is itolizumab, a monoclonal antibody produced in Cuba and other countries. The other is a type of peptide that Havana says is a Cuban discovery and self-produced. It has been in the process of being tested for rheumatoid arthritis and is in the second phase of clinical trials.
“About 80 percent of critically ill patients die. In Cuba, a reversal has been achieved through the use of these two drugs – 80 percent of critically ill patients are saved,” said President Miguel Diaz Canel at a meeting shown in state television.
The researchers warn that extensive studies using placebo are also needed to evaluate the safety and efficacy of these drugs in the treatment of COVID-19. But experimental treatment with them in Cuba has helped achieve a total COVID-19 mortality rate of 4.2 percent, while the average for the region and the world is 5.9 and 6.6 percent, respectively, according to the country’s authorities.