HAVANA—Communist-run Cuba, laboring under a six-decade U.S. embargo, is betting a biotech sector begun by late revolutionary leader Fidel Castro can give the Caribbean island an edge in a global race to find effective treatments for the new coronavirus.
Cuba is especially touting an interferon it produces, a decades old antiviral agent that boosts the immune system.
The island nation says it has been successful in treating the novel coronavirus at home and in China, and that 80 countries have already expressed an interest in buying its interferon alpha 2b.
The government is hoping that its interferon and other treatments it is developing will provide a lift to its struggling economy.
“We have good products like interferon alpha 2b that we are exporting and that open possibilities,” Trade Minister Rodrigo Malmierca said during a recent televised roundtable.
Interferons have long been used internationally to treat dengue fever, cancer and hepatitis