Science & Medicine

An old friend springs to our defense against a new enemy.

Last week, without comment, I sent one of our MPN Interferon gurus a link to a Chinese story about Cuban use of Interferon Alpha 2B to treat COVID-19 Honestly, I had no opinion, no basis to judge one way or another whether or not this was a ray of hope. .

Could interferon, the old immunity-boosting, virus-busting friend of our MPN community, have any real role in stopping the global rampages of this predatory plague that has ground industry to a halt, confined us to quarters, and mows us down with sickness and death?

And then early this morning, Wednesday, April 1. on the BBC World Service News, an 18 minute segment on an inhalant version of Interferon Alpha 1B that had already passed the initial clinical trial test stages with good results. The story includes an interview with the Synairgen CEO.

With so many rumors and false hopes flying around, I hesitate to present anything conclusive, so here’s the raw data…. The story, the podcast, the Google search… Dig in and see what you think..and share your thoughts.

(It might be a welcome relief from the endless Netflix binge sessions, naps, and trips to the fridge that help fill in this quarantined era.)

Go here for the BBC Story/Podcast

Here’s the original clip I sent to the good doctor, the Wizard of Weill-Cornell:


Cuba’s Interferon Alpha 2B

And finally, first Google results on the the company, Synairgen and the clinical trials.

Comments on: "CORONA VIRUS VS. ALPHA 2B" (7)

  1. Richard T Silver said:

    Thanks so much Zhen. I passed this on, but like the story with interferon in the MPNs a I have gotten no enthusiasm from anybody as yet. Too much cytokine effect from interferon, I am told and that is already the problem with covid. Of course, that is end stage, and interferon should be used EARLY.

    I thumbed through the BBC stuff, but could not find the podcast. Can you help more specifically?

    Did you see our article on Rux and weight effect in the MPNs in last issue of Blood . Scandura is last author. His idea. I am in it also if you want to track it down. Also an editorial comment by Mary Francis McMullen. Incyte yawned.

    All the best, Dick

  2. Zhen, just listened to the podcast and read of your contribution. Very very promising…oh I hope so for the sake of mankind.. Never have we needed collaboration and it is reassuring to hear they for once are putting people before profit… I praise everyone involved in medical science. I so wish Chris Gunn and others we’ve lost to MPN’s were here with us weigh in…thank you Zhen…..

  3. Thanks, Zhen
    I read about the interferon 2b and Cuba weeks ago and then saw anything since. I understand that interferon was part of the Cuban aid to Italy, but have heard/seen nothing more. Reading your email today gives me hope!

  4. Mary Cotter said:

    Incredible! And just what did the Wizard of Cornell say?

    • Thanks Zhen. Where did you find this? ….So far we are all well, bu the hospital is filled and the attendings are having to do night duty of various ypes. Ugly situation. Stay healthy and keep in touch.

  5. Thanks very much for this, Zhen! Very interesting.


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