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Interferon for COVID-19 patients

Health officials in Grenada are due to hold discussions with Chinese doctors to determine whether the drug Interferon can be effective in treating coronavirus patients.

Grenada, which now has ten recorded confirmed cases of the virus, is yet to declare its list of drug protocols for treating people with COVID-19 symptoms.

Acting Chief Medical Officer (CMO), Dr Francis Martin and members of Grenada COVID-19 response team were due to conference with the Chinese in order to discuss measures for controlling the spread of the virus and treating patients.

Chinese officials have shortlisted thirty different medications for treating patients and among them is Interferon, a drug produced in a joint venture between Cuba and a Chinese company.

Two weeks ago, a team of specialist nurses arrived from Cuba to join Grenada’s frontline health and medical staff and they have brought with them Interferon.

Interferon is an old drug which has been effective in treating immune diseases such as HIV and illnesses with characteristics similar to the novel coronavirus and is being viewed as the great hope for turning the tide in the fight against this latest global pandemic.

Dr Martin was cautious about the drug: “Cuba is producing something called Interferon 2b that they claim was used in China. We do have a video conference set up with some doctors in China and this is one of the questions we are going to be asking them…did you use Interferon 2b and if you did, how well did it work?

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“As we know, now there are trials going on with different drugs but there has not been conclusive evidence that any one works better than the other.”

Interferon is used to treat various cancers like leukemia, melanoma, AIDS-related Kaposi’s sarcoma. It is also used to treat virus infections such as chronic hepatitis B, chronic hepatitis C, condylomata acuminate.

Western medical experts have indicated that a vaccine to threat COVID-19 patients could be at least one year away.