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April 2006

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From:
Mitchel Cohen <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Science for the People Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Date:
Tue, 18 Apr 2006 12:45:26 -0400
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Well now, at least they're not genetically engineering crops, but 
Cuba's biotech medical plans still trouble me.

Yes, I know the positive arguments for it, how Cuba is breaking the 
western pharmaceutical companies' control of medicine in Latin 
America and offering these very cheaply or for free to sick people, 
but the technology itself is problematic .... and this is one issue 
the left should explore more fully.

When I was visiting Cuba in 1992 I had a very big argument about 
genetic engineering with local technicians when our group visited the 
biotech facility in Havana that had been set up with Japan. They 
seemed at that time to never have heard of the safety concerns I 
raised -- and the academic leftists I was traveling with didn't seem 
too keen on opposing genetic engineering either.

This could be a great discussion at the Radical Philosophy 
Association conference in Havana this June, but unfortunately the 
U.S. government has clamped down on allowing U.S. citizens to visit 
Cuba, and it is nigh impossible for folks who are not full-time 
academics doing research to go there with this conference.

I'd be curious to hear feedback from others about the issue of 
biotechnology in Cuba.

Mitchel Coen


From: "Walter  Lippmann" <[log in to unmask]>

Cuba-India Open New Biotechnology Plant

NEW DELHI, April 17 (PL) Cuba and India have become leaders in
today's biotechnology, said Indian Finance Minister P. Chidambaram on
Tuesday during the opening of a modern institution for the production
of humanized monoclonal h-R3 antibodies.

The official noted the importance of the joint enterprise Biocon
Biopharmaceutical, created to produce and market the product.

Chidambaram also expressed the gratitude of the Indian people and
government for Cuba's assistance to earthquake victims in neighboring
Pakistan.

Doctors Agustin Lage, director of the Cuban Center of Molecular
Immunology and Kiran Mazumder, Biocon president, chaired the opening
ceremony.

Lage confirmed that the clinical trials carried out on people
affected by head and neck neoplasias and treated with h-R3 humanized
monoclonal antibody evolve favorably.

Juan Carretero, the Cuban ambassador to India, called it a memorable
day for all those involved in the project and especially for those
like Cuban President Fidel Castro who had the vision to develop
biotechnology.

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