• Without Accessible Primary Care, We Are "Dangerously Unprepared" for the Next Pandemic Editorial

  • Caution Ahead: Traffic Accidents in Cuba Viewpoint

    Gorry, Conner
  • Vaccines and Public Trust: Containing COVID-19 in Cuba Verena Muzio-González PhD DSc Director of Clinical Research, Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology Center Cuba's Women of Science

    Gorry, Conner
  • Cerebral Hemodynamic Reserve Abnormalities Detected Via Transcranial Doppler Ultrasound in Recovered COVID-19 Patients Original Research

    Abdo-Cuza, Anselmo A.; Hall-Smith, Charles; Suárez-López, Juliette; Castellanos-Gutiérrez, Roberto; Blanco-González, Miguel A; Machado-Martínez, Rafael; Pi-Ávila, Jonathan; Gómez-Peire, Francisco; Espinosa-Nodarse, Namibia; López-González, Juan C.

    Abstract in English:

    Abstract INTRODUCTIONSARS-CoV-2 infection can produce endothelial injury and microvascular damage, one cause of the multiorgan failure associated with COVID-19. Cerebrovascular endothelial damage increases the risk of stroke in COVID-19 patients, which makes prompt diagnosis important. Endothelial dysfunction can be evaluated by using transcranial Doppler ultrasound to study cerebral hemodynamic reserve, but there are few of these studies in patients with COVID-19, and the technique is not included in COVID-19 action and follow-up guidelines nationally or internationally. OBJECTIVEEstimate baseline cerebral hemodynamic patterns, cerebral hemodynamic reserve, and breath-holding index in recovered COVID-19 patients. METHODWe conducted an exploratory study in 51 people; 27 men and 24 women 20–78 years of age, divided into two groups. One group comprised 25 recovered COVID-19 patients, following clinical and epidemiological discharge, who suffered differing degrees of disease severity, and who had no neurological symptoms or disease at the time they were incorporated into the study. The second group comprised 26 people who had not been diagnosed with COVID-19 and who tested negative by RT-PCR at the time of study enrollment. Recovered patients were further divided into two groups: those who had been asymptomatic or had mild disease, and those who had severe or critical disease. We performed transcranial Doppler ultrasounds to obtain baseline and post-apnea tests of cerebral hemodynamic patterns to evaluate cerebral hemodynamic reserve and breath-holding indices. We characterized the recovered patient group and the control group through simple descriptive statistics (means and standard deviations). RESULTSThere were no measurable differences in baseline cerebral hemodynamics between the groups. However, cerebral hemodynamic reserve and breath-holding index were lower in those who had COVID-19 than among control participants (19.9% vs. 36.8% and 0.7 vs. 1.2 respectively). These variables were similar for patients who had asymptomatic or mild disease (19.9% vs.19.8%) and for those who had severe or critical disease (0.7 vs. 0.7). CONCLUSIONSPatients recovered from SARS-CoV-2 infection showed decreased cerebral hemodynamic reserve and breath-holding index regardless of the disease’s clinical severity or presence of neurological symptoms. These abnormalities may be associated with endothelial damage caused by COVID-19. It would be useful to include transcranial Doppler ultrasound in evaluation and follow-up protocols for patients with COVID-19.
  • In Haiti, Cubans Among First Responders, Again: Luis Orlando Oliveros-Serrano MD Coordinator, Cuban Medical Team in Haiti Interview

    Gorry, Conner
  • Effects of Physical Exercise on Burnout Syndrome in University Students Short Article

    Rosales-Ricardo, Yury; Ferreira, José P

    Abstract in English:

    Abstract INTRODUCTION Burnout syndrome has a negative impact on university students’ health worldwide. Global prevalence of each dimension of the syndrome is estimated at 55.4% for emotional exhaustion, 31.6% for cynicism and 30.9% for academic inefficacy. OBJECTIVE Evaluate the efficacy of physical exercise in reducing burnout levels in university students. METHODS We carried out an investigation in students from the Technical University of Ambato, Ecuador. Students were in different career tracks, randomly selected, and were assigned to three different groups with pre-test and post-test measurements: two intervention groups (aerobic and strength exercise) and one control group (no exercise). The evaluation instrument was the Maslach Burnout Inventory-Student Survey, whose dimensions are exhaustion, cynicism and academic inefficacy. We also evaluated heart rate variability. RESULTS The aerobic exercise group reduced cynicism by 21.1% (d = 0.252), inefficacy 13.1% (d = 0.397) and exhaustion by 31.0% (d = 0.532). The strength exercise group reduced cynicism by 27.4% (d = 0.315), inefficacy by 21.7% (d = 0.704) and exhaustion by 19.6% (d = 0.299). In the control group, exhaustion and inefficacy increased by 10.1% (d = 0.128) and 4.4% (d = 0.129) respectively; instead, cynicism was reduced by 7.3% (d = 0.062).The aerobic exercise group had the greatest increase in heart rate variability (at 16.8%), followed by the strength group (16.6%) and the control group (5.2%). CONCLUSIONS Physical exercise (both aerobic and strength) was effective in reducing burnout levels in university students.
  • Asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 Infection in Havana, Cuba, March–June 2020: Epidemiological Implications Original Research

    Cruz-Rodríguez, Elba; Baldoquín-Rodríguez, Waldemar; Molina-Águila, Niurka; Galindo-Santana, Belkys M.; Romero-Placeres, Manuel; González-Gross, Tania M.; Morgado-Vega, Isabela; Olivera-Nodarse, Yadira; Guzmán, María G.

    Abstract in English:

    Abstract INTRODUCTION The percentage of asymptomatic COVID-19 cases worldwide is estimated at 18–50%; 53% in Cuba specifically, and 58% in Havana, the Cuban capital and the 2020 epicenter of the country’s COVID-19 epidemic. These figures, however, do not represent the transmission capacity or behavior of asymptomatic cases. Understanding asymptomatic transmission’s contribution to SARS-CoV-2 spread is of great importance to disease control and prevention. OBJECTIVE Identify the epidemiological implications of asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infection in Havana, Cuba, during the first wave of the epidemic in 2020. METHODS We carried out a cross-sectional study of all confirmed COVID-19 cases diagnosed in Havana, Cuba, from March 16 through June 30, 2020. The information was obtained through review of the standardized form for investigation of suspected and confirmed cases. Examined variables included age, sex, occupation, case type and source of infection. Cases were divided into asymptomatic and symptomatic groups, and transmission was characterized through the creation of a contact matrix. Analysis was carried out in Epidat and R. RESULTS We studied 1287 confirmed cases, of which 57.7% (743) were asymptomatic, and 42.3% (544) were symptomatic. Symptomatic presentation was the most common for both imported and introduced cases, while asymptomatic presentation was more common in autochthonic cases and infections from an undetermined source. Asymptomatic infection was more common in groups aged <20 and 20–59 years, while symptomatic infection was more common in those aged >60 years. In the contact matrix, 34.6% of cases (445/1287) were not tied to other cases, and 65.4% (842/1287) were infectious–infected dyads, with symptomatic–symptomatic being the most common combination. The majority of primary cases (78.5%; 1002/1276) did not generate secondary cases, and 85.6% (658/743) of asymptomatic cases did not lead to other cases (although one asymptomatic superspreader led to 90 cases in a single event). However, 63.2% (344/544) of symptomatic primary cases generated secondary cases, and 11 symptomatic superspreaders spawned 100 secondary cases in different events. CONCLUSIONS Asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infection was the most common form of COVID-19 in Havana during the study period, but its capacity for contagion was lower than that of symptomatic individuals. Superspreader events under specific conditions played an important role in sustaining the epidemic.
  • Wound Chronicity, Impaired Immunity and Infection in Diabetic Patients Review Article

    Rodríguez-Rodríguez, Nadia; Martínez-Jiménez, Indira; García-Ojalvo, Ariana; Mendoza-Mari, Yssel; Guillén-Nieto, Gerardo; Armstrong, David G.; Berlanga-Acosta, Jorge

    Abstract in English:

    Abstract BACKGROUND Diabetic foot ulcers are a common diabetic complication leading to alarming figures of amputation, disability, and early mortality. The diabetic glucooxidative environment impairs the healing response, promoting the onset of a ‘wound chronicity phenotype’. In 50% of ulcers, these non-healing wounds act as an open door for developing infections, a process facilitated by diabetic patients’ dysimmunity. Infection can elicit biofilm formation that worsens wound prognosis. How this microorganism community is able to take advantage of underlying diabetic conditions and thrive both within the wound and the diabetic host is an expanding research field. OBJECTIVES 1) Offer an overview of the major cellular and molecular derangements of the diabetic healing process versus physiological cascades in a non-diabetic host. 2) Describe the main immunopathological aspects of diabetics’ immune response and explore how these contribute to wound infection susceptibility. 3) Conceptualize infection and biofilim in diabetic foot ulcers and analyze their dynamic interactions with wound bed cells and matrices, and their systemic effects at the organism level. 4) Offer an integrative conceptual framework of wound–dysimmunity–infection–organism damage. EVIDENCE AQUISITION We retrieved 683 articles indexed in Medline/PubMed, SciELO, Bioline International and Google Scholar. 280 articles were selected for discussion under four major subheadings: 1) normal healing processes, 2) impaired healing processes in the diabetic population, 3) diabetic dysimmunity and 4) diabetic foot infection and its interaction with the host. DEVELOPMENT The diabetic healing response is heterogeneous, torpid and asynchronous, leading to wound chronicity. The accumulation of senescent cells and a protracted inflammatory profile with a pro-catabolic balance hinder the proliferative response and delay re-epithelialization. Diabetes reduces the immune system’s abilities to orchestrate an appropriate antimicrobial response and offers ideal conditions for microbiota establishment and biofilm formation. Biofilm–microbial entrenchment hinders antimicrobial therapy effectiveness, amplifies the host's pre-existing immunodepression, arrests the wound’s proliferative phase, increases localized catabolism, prolongs pathogenic inflammation and perpetuates wound chronicity. In such circumstances the infected wound may act as a proinflammatory and pro-oxidant organ superimposed onto the host, which eventually intensifies peripheral insulin resistance and disrupts homeostasis. CONCLUSIONS The number of lower-limb amputations remains high worldwide despite continued research efforts on diabetic foot ulcers. Identifying and manipulating the molecular drivers underlying diabetic wound healing failure, and dysimmunity-driven susceptibility to infection will offer more effective therapeutic tools for the diabetic population.
  • Cuban COVID-19 Vaccines for Children: Rinaldo Puga MD MS Principal Investigator, Pediatric Clinical Trials for Soberana 02 and Soberana Plus Interview

    Reed, Gail
  • Percutaneous Coronary Intervention VersusMyocardial Revascularization Surgery inMultivessel Coronary Artery Disease: Four-Year Followup Short Article

    Naranjo-Domínguez, Adrián; Aroche-Aportela, Ronald; Hernández-Navas, Myder; Aldama-Pérez, Lázaro I.; García-Hernández, Ricardo A; Valdés-Martín, Alexander

    Abstract in English:

    Abstract INTRODUCTION In Cuba, 29,939 deaths from ischemic heart disease were recorded in 2020. Myocardial revascularization surgery and percutaneous coronary intervention are well-established methods of treating patients with multivessel coronary artery disease. These methods can reduce overall deaths, but choosing the optimal strategy for treating left main coronary ischemia is a source of debate among specialists. OBJECTIVE Estimate survival and major cardiac and cerebrovascular events in patients treated with percutaneous coronary intervention versus myocardial revascularization surgery and their relationships with pre-existing patients’ clinical and angiographic characteristics. METHODS We conducted a retrospective cohort study in 41 patients; 35 men and 6 women aged 40–85 years who had been diagnosed with multivessel coronary artery disease and treated with percutaneous coronary intervention (n = 17) or myocardial revascularization surgery (n = 24) at the Medical–Surgical Research Center in Havana, Cuba, in 2016. The main variable under consideration was the occurrence of major adverse cardiovascular events over a four-year period following these interventions. We collected clinical and angiographic characteristics, and used the Kaplan–Meier test to calculate survival curves. Survival probabilities were compared using the log-rank test. A value of p <0.05 was considered statistically significant. The Cox proportional hazards model was used to estimate the hazard ratio, with 95% confidence intervals used for both procedures. RESULTS There were a total of 20 major adverse cardiovascular events, 75% (15/20) of which occurred in patients who underwent percutaneous coronary intervention and 5% in patients who had myocardial revascularization surgery. The probability of survival was 70.6% in surgery and 37.5% in interventionism; p = 0.043; hazard ratio 1.58 (95% confidence interval 0.987–2.530), p = 0.047. The need to repeat a revascularization procedure was the only major cardiovascular event that showed significant differences between methods (log-rank p = 0.015), and was more frequent in percutaneous intervention. CONCLUSIONS Myocardial revascularization surgery offers a better chance of survival than percutaneous coronary intervention. Major adverse cardiovascular events are more frequent in patients with coronary interventionism, due to the need to repeat revascularization.
  • Thrombotic Microangiopathy in Patients Recovering from COVID-19 Covid-19 Case Study

    López-Marín, Laura; Bacallao-Méndez, Raymed A.; Llerena-Ferrer, Betsy; Badell-Moore, Aymara; García-Villar, Yamile; Rodríguez-Leyva, Leticia; Herrera-Valdés, Raúl

    Abstract in English:

    Abstract INTRODUCTION During the pandemic caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus, some patients who develop severe forms of COVID-19 present thrombotic microangiopathy in the course of the disease’s clinical progression. METHODS Data came from direct patient observation and clinical records. We performed a kidney biopsy and used optical microscopy and immunofluorescence techniques. RESULTS We present the case of a 78-year-old male patient, mestizo, overweight with a history of high blood pressure, ischemic cardiopathy and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease who was first admitted to the hospital due to respiratory symptoms and diarrhea related to COVID-19, from which he recovered. He was subsequently readmitted with symptoms of acute renal dysfunction accompanied by mild anemia and thrombocytopenia; at the same time, he resulted negative for COVID-19 via a real-time polymerase chain reaction test. A kidney biopsy revealed thrombi in glomerular capillaries, acute tubular necrosis, thickening of extraglomerular blood vessel walls, and C3 deposits in the glomerular tufts. CONCLUSIONS We describe a case of thrombotic microangiopathy with kidney biopsy in a patient recovering from COVID-19. Acute renal dysfunction is a form of thrombotic microangiopathy that has been observed in patients recovering from COVID-19.
  • Carbapenamase-Producing Acinetobacter baumannii in China, Latin America and the Caribbean: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis Review Article

    Yu, Haiyang; Ezpeleta-Lobato, Guillermo; Han, Xu; Carmona-Cartaya, Yenisel; Quiñones-Pérez, Dianelys

    Abstract in English:

    Abstract INTRODUCTION Carbapenem-resistant Acinetobacter baumannii is a complex health problem, causing difficulties in clinical–therapeutic management worldwide. It is of particular concern in Latin America, the Caribbean and China, where it is an emerging health problem. Carbapenemases produced by these organisms inactivate carbapenem antibiotics. Monitoring circulating genotypes’ geographic dispersion contributes to more effective control measures. However, exhaustive studies on carbapenem-resistant A. baumannii are scarce. OBJECTIVES Study the production of carbapenemases in clinical isolates of A. baumannii resistant to carbapenem antibiotics and the geographic distribution of the sequences circulating in China, Latin America and the Caribbean. DATA ACQUISITION We followed PRISMA indications. We carried out a systematic search in Pubmed, BVS and CKNI on papers on A. baumannii and carbapenemases published during 2015–2020 in English, Spanish and Chinese, and selected 29 cross-sectional studies that met the search criteria. Studies were evaluated using JBI Critical Appraisal tools, and quantitative data were collated for meta-analysis using the Metaprop library in Stata15. DEVELOPMENT OXA-type carbapenemases were detected in all studies; among A. baumannii resistant to carbapenem antibiotics, predominant types were OXA-23, OXA-24, OXA-54 and OXA-72; metallobetalactamases were identified less frequently than OXA carbapenemases. Only one clinical isolate producer of Class A carbapenemases (KPC) was identified in Colombia. In total, 41 sequence types were identified; in Latin America and the Caribbean the most common types were: ST79, ST25, ST1 and ST15; in China, the sequences ST195, ST208, ST191, ST368 and ST369 were the most prevalent. ST2 was found in both regions. CONCLUSIONS The most prevalent carbapenemases and sequence types vary by region, indicating different ancestral strains. Microbiological surveillance, antibiotic use optimization, adequate infection treatment and timely control strategies are essential for carbapenem-resistant A. baumannii prevention and control in geographies such as Latin America, the Caribbean and China where such resistance is an emerging health problem.
  • Innate Immune Stimulation Should not be Overlooked in Postexposure Prophylaxis and Early Therapy for Coronavirus Infections Perspective

    Aguilar-Rubido, Julio C.; Pentón-Arias, Eduardo; Akbar, Sheikh Mohammad Fazle

    Abstract in English:

    Abstract We discuss the suitability of innate immune stimulation in acute respiratory infection post-exposure prophylaxis. The induction of innate immunity can be used to reduce susceptibility to immune-evasive pathogens (coronavirus, influenza virus, respiratory syncytial virus and rhinovirus). After the emergence of multiple SARS-CoV-2 variants, scientists are debating whether new variants could affect vaccine efficacy and how antigens could be redesigned to compensate. In addition, there is insufficient vaccine production to cover universal demand, and equitable vaccine distribution is a global challenge. Given these factors, non-specific immune stimulators may be suitable for a quick first response in the case of a suspected or early respiratory infection. Our group completed several HeberNasvac studies in healthy volunteers and patients with respiratory infections, and is currently starting large clinical trials in patients with early SARS-CoV-2 infections. This nasal formulation of hepatitis B vaccine has demonstrated its capacity to stimulate innate immunity markers (TLR3, TLR7 and TLR8 in tonsils) at the virus’ entry site, in systemic compartments (HLA class II in monocytes and lymphocytes) and in the activation of dendritic cells, lymphocytes and other cell lines in vitro and ex vivo. In addition, research generated by the current pandemic may obtain results useful for treating other acute respiratory infections, which have long been main drivers of mortality among older adults and in early childhood.
  • Erratum: Influence of Inflammation on Assessing Iron-Deficiency Anemia in Cuban Preschool Children

Medical Education Cooperation with Cuba Oakland - California - United States
E-mail: editors@medicc.org