Jamaica not using Cuba’s antiviral drug for now

Health Minister Dr Christopher Tufton.

Health Minister Dr Christopher Tufton has said that Jamaica will not be using the Cuban antiviral drug Interferon Alpha 2B to treat persons battling the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

He said discussions would be had with the Cuban authorities to get more details about the antiviral drug, which is one of several being used by the Chinese to fight the new coronavirus.

The drug is said to have proven effective for viruses with characteristics similar to those of COVID-19.

However, Tufton said that an assessment was done, and given that the drug was not approved globally.

He told parliament on Wednesday (April 15) that the advice came from Chief Medical Officer Dr Jacquiline Bisasor-McKenzie. “I can only go by the advice given to me. It is not that we have not looked at it. As you know, we have been collaborating with the Cuban government in several ways and we are very appreciative in terms of the clinical capacity that has been added to our front line against COVID.”