Sergio Paneque

Sergio Paneque

Ebola stricken Cuban doctor to be treated in Europe

Felix Baez Sarria first presented symptoms of infection on November 16, and tested positive for the virus one day later. The Cuban Health Ministry said he was in stable condition.

Baez is being treated by British doctors until he is transported to a treatment clinic in Geneva, Switzerland, on the recommendation of the World Health Organization (WHO).

He was a member of a 165-person medical team sent to Sierra Leone from Cuba in October. Cuba has 256 medical personnel in the three countries most affected by Ebola.

Cuban authorities, as well as WHO officials in Havana, have said that if a member of the medical team were to be infected they would not be treated on the Caribbean island.

According to WHO data, the outbreak has killed 5,177 people. There are at least 14,413 confirmed or suspected cases.

  • Published in Cuba

Illinois Cuba Working Group Meets with Cuban Officials to Advance Trade Relations

WILMETTE, ILL – Nov. 10, 2014 -- The Illinois Cuba Working Group (ICWG) visited the Havana International Fair (FIHAV) last week in an effort to grow the trade relationship between the U.S. and Cuba.
"Cuba relies solely on foreign suppliers for soybeans, so the U.S., and specifically Illinois – the country's No. 1 soybean-producing state – has a big opportunity to gain business that will boost our economy," says John Longley, soybean farmer from Aledo, Ill., and Illinois Soybean Growers (ISG) director.  "The U.S. was once the dominant supplier of all Cuba's soy products until Brazil moved in during 2011 and 2012, and Argentina in 2013.  We want to get that business back."
On Oct. 28, 2014, 188 United Nations member states supported the resolution to end the commercial, economic and financial embargo against Cuba.  Only the U.S. and Israel supported the continued sanctions against Cuba, as they have for the past 23 years.
"We need decision makers to start thinking more progressively and consider expanding trade relations to a country that is so close to home," says Oscar Abraldes, general manager for Cargill. Abraldes joined ICWG for this visit, along with other ICWG delegates from Illinois Department of Agriculture, Koch Foods, Illinois Soybean Growers and Chicago Foods.
The ICWG delegation met with Cuban commodity buyer Alimport, the Ministry of Agriculture, the Ministry of External Relations, the Cuba Chamber of Commerce and representatives of the Mariel Special Development Zone.  The goal is increasing trade relations and conducting business that would increase exports of agricultural products and food from Illinois to Cuba.
ICWG strives to form strategic relationships in order to amend the Trade Sanction and Reform Act in a way that would:
•    Establish an agricultural trade office in Cuba as a show of commitment and to facilitate/assist with communication and market entry.
•    Allow U.S. export promotion and assistance to U.S. ag commodities going to Cuba.
•    Permit U.S. food companies the ability to negotiate trade terms with Cuba.

The Illinois Cuba Working Group was formed at the request of the Illinois General Assembly. The organization grew out of an initiative that began in 1999 when Illinois was the first state to travel to Cuba during the embargo.  Through the collaboration of Illinois political, business and community support, Congress passed the Trade Sanctions and Reform Act in 2001.  That act permitted the sale of agricultural products, and represented the first major effort to remove the embargo and barriers to normalized trade relations with Cuba.

  • Published in Cuba

New advances in cancer immunotherapy presented in world forum

Renowned experts from 15 countries, including Nobel Prize winners for Physics, Biochemistry and Mathematics, will present the latest advances in cancer immunotherapy research, during an event which will take place in the capital November 10-15.

Speaking exclusively to AIN, Sonia Ponce de León, communication specialist at the Molecular Immunology Center (CIM), an entity affiliated with the BioCubaFarma group, stated that the institution organizes the International Cancer Immunotherapy Workshop every two years.

She reported that scientists from the CIM will impart the latest advances in caner immunotherapy therapy, which since 2012 has been the principle cause of death in Cuba.

The institution develops therapeutic vaccines and monoclonal antibodies which are used to treat different areas and levels of pain, with good results, according to Cuban and foreign experts.

Dr. Yicel Saurez, CIM’s commercial medicine manager, emphasized that during the event the most advanced technology in the world will be presented, in addition to research strategies.

She emphasized that the entire scientific community and many clinical oncologists recognize the contribution that Cuban science and medicines can make to treatment of the illness.

This center has a portfolio of some 20 products, including medicines which have been fully developed and can be used by patients.

She stated that in regards to research, these pharmaceuticals are grouped into three categories: recombinant proteins, monoclonal antibodies and therapeutic vaccines to treat cancer or autoimmune diseases.

Saurez highlighted CIM exports to more than 30 countries, and the more than 70 Cuban patents registered.

On previous occasions, Dr. Agustín Lage Dávila, director of the CIM, commented on changes in the clinical cancer treatment paradigm, emphasizing the need to consider advanced cancer as a chronic, incurable but controllable illness.

He also stated that new therapies based on biotechnological products -  monoclonal antibodies and vaccines – are focused on combating specific elements of the cancer, extended duration, reduced toxicity, combined use, and the ability to be used on elderly people.

Likewise, he emphasized that clinical trials must consider rates of survival and quality of life, and be directed toward primary health care.

  • Published in Cuba

Cuban baseball Hall of Fame reopens after half a century

Cuban baseball’s Hall of Fame was reopened here, after a 54-year gap.

The Hall of Fame of Cuba welcomed 10 new members Sunday. They will be honoured Dec 27 and 28 during an All-Star Game in the eastern Cuban city of Granma, reports Xinhua.

A group of renowned writers and experts of Cuban baseball selected five players from the time before 1959, when the Revolution triumphed, and other five who played after 1961.

The first group includes referee Amado Maestri and players Esteban Bellan, Camilo Pascual, Orestes Minoso and Conrado Marrero.

The second group includes Omar Linares, Luis Giraldo Casanova, Orestes Kindelan, Braudilio Vinent and Antonio Munoz.

The Hall of Fame of Cuba was founded in October 1939 and closed in 1961.

  • Published in Sports
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