Phillips urges gov’t to ask Cuba for help with COVID-19 treatment

Dr Peter Phillips

Leader of the Opposition People’s National Party (PNP), Dr Peter Phillips has urged the Government to move quickly to seek help from Cuba to access the anti-viral drug Interferon Alpha 2B in the fight against COVID-19.

The drug is among 30 such treatments being used in the fight against the novel coronavirus in other countries.

This drug is being used in 14 other jurisdictions in Asia, Europe and South America. The Cuban Government has expressed its willingness to make the drug available to Jamaica, on the basis of a formal request from the Government of Jamaica, Dr Phillips said.

Making his contribution to the 2020/21 budget debate in the House of Representatives Tuesday. Phillips said he has written formally to Prime Minister Andrew Holness on the matter.

“It would help to reduce the incidence of infection or help in reducing the severity of the infections,” he said. He pointed out that the Cuban biotechnology industry has a lot to offer and countries further away and bigger than Jamaica have seen the value in embracing this intervention.

A batch of 21 nurses from Cuba is expected to arrive in the island next week to help in the fight against the novel coronavirus.