Granma | 11 January, 2017
Cuban science, an indisputable product of the Revolution and Fidel’s visionary thinking, today faces the challenge of more swiftly linking to the production of goods and services, based on obtaining high-tech and innovative results and always closing the research-manufacturing-marketing cycle.
This makes this sector, alongside innovation, an essential part of the project of the prosperous and sustainable socialist society that we hope to build. As Dr. Agustín Lage Dávila pointed out in an article published in Granma last October, the recovery of scientific activity and investment in such a vital sector, inevitably damaged by the Special Period and the blockade, is not a luxury, but a necessity. Development is impossible without inserting science in every sector of the economy, the director of the Center of Molecular Immunology emphasized.
Despite a difficult year due to limited resources and other problems that affected research activities and the permanence of specialists in certain scientific branches, the country closed 2016 with notable contributions and statistical indicators. Granma offers readers a preliminary and partial summary of these achievements. •
SCIENTIFIC EVENTS OF 2016
► The registration in Cuba of Heberferón, a combination of interferon-alpha 2b and recombinant interferon-gamma, to treat non-melanoma skin cancer.
► The patent granted by the European Union to the new generation of the drug Heberprot-P, presented in nanocapsules, whose antimicrobial action makes the treatment of advanced diabetic foot ulcers more effective, avoiding amputations.
► The continuation of clinical trials of the CIGB 500 molecule, a novel drug under development demonstrating a significant cardioprotective effect, with promising possibilities for the treatment of acute myocardial infarction.
► The approval in the United States of clinical trials of the Cuban lung cancer vaccine CIMAvax-EGF, produced at the Center of Molecular Immunology.
► The discovery of new pharmacological evidence of the neuroprotective effects of a molecule called JM-20, which offers hopes for the treatment of cerebral ischemia, a serious global health problem.
► The extension to the 15 provinces of the island and the special municipality of the Isle of Youth of regenerative medicine and stem cell therapy, mainly in the specialties of orthopedics, traumatology and angiology.
► The development of new human vaccines, including obtaining a candidate heptavalent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine, and another for cholera.
► The announcement that as a result of the application of the Cuban vaccine for chronic hepatitis B, the country has not reported cases of the disease in children under five years of age since 1999, an indicator that since 2006 has also extended to children under 15 years old.
► The ratification through the most recent assessments that the Cuban climate will be warmer, drier and more extreme by the end of the 21st century, with an average temperature increase of up to four degrees Celsius and a decrease in rainfall in the order of 15 – 50%.
► The widespread planting of the cucumber variety INIVIT P-2007, with high potential yields and greater tolerance to the main diseases that damage this crop in Cuba. Nominated for the 2016 National Award for Technological Innovation.
► The new Virginia San Luis 23 tobacco variety, disease resistant and with high productive potential.
► The production of polyfloral honey wine (mead) on an industrial scale, helping to diversify the uses of Cuban honey.
► Algorithms for the real-time analysis of the National Electric System (SEN) with penetration of renewable energy sources; extremely useful work to improve the management of the National Electrical Union’s Energy Distribution Office and to avoid total and partial collapse of SEN operations. Nominated for the 2016 National Prize for Technological Innovation.
► Protection of Cuba’s dams in the face of climate change, nominated for the 2016 National Prize for Technological Innovation.
► The inauguration of an exhibition on Cuban biodiversity at the American Museum of Natural History in New York.
► The incorporation of technology in Basic Productive Organizations of Cuban Distributed Generation, a result that contributes to the improvement of the operation and exploitation of the National Electric System. Nominated for the 2016 National Innovation Prize.
► Current Cuban pedagogy, which synthesizes and renews the theme of scientific management in the education sector.
► The creation and validation of a new anthropometric indicator termed fetal weight increase, which allows for the longitudinal evaluation of intrauterine growth by estimated fetal weight from the beginning of the second trimester of pregnancy, systematizing its prenatal evolution in primary health care.
► The determination of the volume of polluting gases released into the atmosphere by Cuba’s state mobile sources in the 2007-2012 period.
SCIENTIFIC AND TECHNOLOGICAL POTENTIAL
934 Doctors of Science per 1 million inhabitants.
400 specialist researchers per 1 million inhabitants.
1,165,002 university graduates (according to the 2012 Census).
129 research centers.
18 scientific-technological services centers.
53 development and innovation units.
HUMAN RESOURCES IN THE SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY AND INNOVATION SYSTEM
82,764 manual workers in the CTI system
56% are women
53% have higher education qualifications
4,355 are specialized researchers
48.2% are women
A total of 86 of the Economic and Social Policy Guidelines of the Party and Revolution were related to science, technology and innovation, 15 directly and 71 indirectly. The measures to be implemented and developed cover 33 guidelines with implications for comprehensive policies and 53 guidelines for sectoral policies.
THEMATIC AREAS DEFINED AS NATIONAL PRIORITIES FOR SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY AND INNOVATION ACTIVITIES
- Production of animal and human food.
- Sustainable energy development, enhancing efficiency, savings and renewable sources.
- Adaptation to climate change.
- Automation and computerization of society.
- Sustainable use of natural resources, with emphasis on water.
- Cuban society, economy and international relations.
- Territorial and urban planning.
- Biotechnology, medical-pharmaceutical production and vaccines.
- Research in natural and exact sciences.
• Research in Nanotechnologies.