Pittsburg-Matanzas Sister Cities Resolution

November 20, 2020


WHEREAS; The United States has the highest number of Covid-19 cases in the world, and;

WHEREAS; Cuba has an estimated 2020 population of 11,326 000 and Pennsylvania has an estimated 2020 population of 12,700,000 and it is alarming that Pennsylvania has 220,000 COVID-19 cases and 8,962 deaths compared to Cuba which has 6,970 COVID-19 cases and 129 deaths as of November, 2020 attributed to their public health mobilization and protocols; and

WHEREAS; In the face of the worldwide menace of SARS-Cov-2 Covid -19, the situation calls for the utmost international cooperation and sharing of resources and expertise; and

WHEREAS; The City of Pittsburgh is home to some of the most nationally prestigious and successful medical, public health, pharmaceutical and life sciences research and teaching institutions; and

WHEREAS; Cuba has developed in its own internationally respected biopharmaceutical industry and successfully used at home and abroad treatment regimens in previous outbreaks of Ebola, Zika, Chikungunya and other of the novel virus; and

WHEREAS; Cuba has used several successful treatment protocols in controlling COVID-19 developed by its biopharmaceutical industry, affording that country an extremely favorable fatality and recovery rate; and that these treatment protocols include the Cuba produced drugs of Biomodulina T, Heberon Interferon Akfa 2B human recombinant, Itolizumab,  Jusvinza *(CIBG 258), and the Cuban vaccine Soberana 02 entering drug trials; and

WHEREAS, the monoclonal antibody Itolizumab received authorization to start a phase III clinical trial in Covid-19 patients in the U S, Mexico and Brazil in cooperation with India’s BIOCON company and will consolidate the scientific pieces of evidence that supports the effective inclusion of the drug in the treatment for Covid-19 patients; and

WHEREAS; Although more than 42 countries are in the process of acquiring or have already acquired pharmaceutical products such as these from Cuba, none are available in the United States due to ongoing and increased restrictions against collaboration with and imports from Cuba due to the new dictates of the Trump Administration; and

WHEREAS; The City of Pittsburgh has been home to the Pittsburgh-Matanzas Sister Cities Partnership and has supported numerous Resolutions encouraging friendship and mutual cooperation with the people of Cuba and several Pittsburgh based academic, medical and innovation institutions are now working individually and collaboratively to produce breakthrough treatments and medical approaches, to conquer the devastating effects of the Covid-19 illness and death rate; and

WHEREAS; There is an ongoing national awareness and work towards similar Cuban collaborative initiatives in other cities and states with recent Resolutions in the City of Cleveland, Richmond, San Francisco among others calling for lifting of the U. S. embargo on Cuba that has severely restricted collaboration on scientific and medical research, past Resolutions of Pittsburgh City Council have been approved unanimously; and

WHEREAS; The people of Pittsburgh and our Commonwealth, the rest of our country and the world community would benefit from U.S. – Cuban biopharmaceutical, medical and public health collaboration and exchanges, an example has been the on-going and encouraging joint Cuba-US lung cancer drug trials being conducted at the Rosewell Cancer Institute with past FDA approval in Buffalo, New York.

Now, Therefore Be It Resolved; That the Council of the City of Pittsburgh encourages local medical, health care, scientific, academic and pharmaceutical institutions to actively explore collaboration with their Cuban counter parts in knowledge transfer and joint collaboration in public health prevention methods, methods for preventing infection of health workers, innovation treatments, development of new treatments, vaccines and protocols between Pittsburgh and Cuban institutions; and

Be it further Resolved; That the Council appeals to the Pennsylvania State Legislature and the Governor to actively pursue such exchanges, knowledge transfers, and collaboration, including but not limited to efforts to further joint development of drugs and treatment protocols in pursuit of the COVID-19 virus and communicable diseases; and

Be it further Resolved; That the City of Pittsburgh calls on our U. S. Congress and the future Executive Administration of President-Elect Joe Biden and Vice-President Elect Kamala Harris to restore diplomatic relations with Cuba, end the decades long economic blockade and engage in all mutually beneficial areas of human endeavor.

This Final Draft Resolution will be submitted to Pittsburgh City Council for consideration and passage.

Senator Jim Ferlo, retired
Pittsburgh-Matanzas Sister Cities Partnership
Energy Innovation Center, Room 140
1420 Bedford Avenue
Pittsburgh, Pa. 15219
Cell / text : 412-952-3364