Cuba and China strengthen scientific cooperation for the development of medical treatments

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In recent years, Cuba and China have established agreements to develop innovative medical treatments, notably Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (Centro de Ingeniería Genética y Biotecnología, CIGB) and Center for Molecular Immunology (Centro de Inmunología Molecular, CIM), and have shared their experiences in the field of medical research.

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CIGB and CIM are part of the eight scientific production centres at the core of BioCubaFarma, established on 3 December 2012 by Decree 307. The functions of BioCubaFarma are to oversee implementation of the research and development policy for drugs and other products and services with high value added for the entities of the group. Its main priorities are health programmes and medical services in Cuba.

CIGB reported on 9 March 2023 that it is seeking to identify potential areas of collaboration in the scientific field with China for the development of medical treatments.

CIGB was established in 1986 and its main productions are biopharmaceutical products obtained through genetic engineering.

Dr Kalet Leon, Deputy Director of the CIM, conducted a working visit to China where he exchanged ideas with leading biotechnology companies, with the aim of identifying opportunities and further strengthening cooperation between scientific entities in this sector. 

CIM is a Cuban biotechnology institution that focuses its basic research, development, and product manufacturing on the treatment of cancer and other autoimmune diseases. Scientists from this entity in the Caribbean Island work on different modalities such as antibodies, recombinant proteins, laboratory reagents, therapeutic vaccines and biosimilars.

This initiative seeks to promote scientific cooperation between Cuba and China to advance research and treatment of diseases.

While the CIGB and CIM are distinct research centres with different areas of expertise, they both play important roles in advancing biotechnology and life sciences in Cuba and have collaborated on various research projects.

Cuba was the first Latin American country to establish diplomatic relations with China, and has long been at the forefront of Latin American countries in developing relations with China.

Scientific cooperation between Cuba and China in the field of health is an example of the collaboration between two countries that share a common vision of the importance of research and development in improving the health and well-being of their populations.

In September 2022, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) announced the execution of a loan of €46.7 million to support Cuba's biopharmaceutical industry and improve the national response capacity to diseases such as COVID-19. Cuban authorities also took actions to expand international cooperation in this area [1].

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1. GaBI Online - Generics and Biosimilars Initiative. New funding to strengthen Cuba's biopharmaceutical industry []. Mol, Belgium: Pro Pharma Communications International; [cited 2023 May 30]. Available from:

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