Sometime around 1981, the Cubans invented an antiviral treatment for coronavirus. What is its relative efficacy against COVID-19? What are the pathways and obstacles for it making its way to being a mainstream mass cure for the pandemic?

Havana, March 14 (RHC)--Cuba said on Friday it has enough reserves of an antiviral drug which has been used to treat COVID-19 in China to cover the island’s demand and also that of other countries.

Cuba biotech industry has enough antivirals to treat COVID-19 (March 14, 2020)

Havana, March 18 (RHC)-- Cuba has full capacity to supply Interferon alpha 2B and other 22 medicines to the national health system in the fight and treatment of COVID-19. It is also s working on a vaccine against that disease.

Cuba can produce 23 drugs to treat coronavirus and is working on a vaccine against it (March 18, 2020)

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    What has your research revealed? What is this thing the Cubans invented?
    – Carey Gregory
    Mar 19, 2020 at 5:06
  • @CareyGregory: radiohc.cu/en/noticias/nacionales/… "Cuba said on Friday it has enough reserves of an antiviral drug which has been used to treat COVID-19 in China to cover the island’s demand and also that of other countries." Mar 19, 2020 at 5:41

1 Answer 1


All interferons interfere with viral replication but until the Cubans show that their drug Interferon alpha 2B is any better than anything else, then there's nothing to recommend it over anything else used in the treatment of COVID-19.

The list of drugs recommended by CPAM are:

For direct antiviral treatment of SARS-CoV-2, CPAM recommends use of lopinavir; ritonavir [2 capsule (dose undefined) by mouth twice daily] in combination with nebulized alfa-interferon (5 million units in Sterile Water for Injection inhaled twice daily). CPAM ( China International Exchange and Promotive Association for Medical and Health Care) has based this recommendation on weak evidence from retrospective cohort, historically controlled studies, case reports, and case series that suggest clinical benefit of lopinavir; ritonavir in the treatment of other coronavirus infection [i.e., 2002 SARS-CoV and 2012 Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV)]. (4) (8) (7)


In addition to CPAM, a group of Korean physicians with experience in treating SARS-CoV-2 infected patients have developed recommendations for the treatment of COVID-19. According to these physicians, antiviral medications are not recommended for use in young, healthy patients with mild symptoms and no underlying comorbid conditions. However, treatment with lopinavir 400 mg; ritonavir 100 mg (2 tablets by mouth twice daily) or chloroquine (500 mg by mouth twice daily) should be considered for use in older patients or patients with under underlying conditions and serious symptoms. If chloroquine is unavailable, they recommend considering use of hydroxychloroquine (400 mg by mouth once daily). Use of ribavirin and interferon were not recommended as first-line treatments because of the risk for side effects; however, use of these medications may be considered if treatment with lopinavir; ritonavir, chloroquine, or hydroxychloroquine are ineffective. (12) (13)

It is unclear if the alpha interferon used in China is the same as the one the Cubans are selling.


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