Mérida, October 26, 2020 (venezuelanalysis.com) – The Venezuelan Institute for Scientific Investigations (IVIC) has claimed the discovery of a new and highly effective treatment for COVID-19 symptoms.
According to the IVIC, six month trials using a DR-10 antigen have proved it to have a “100 percent effectiveness in neutralising the coronavirus” without causing “toxic side effects.”
The antigen forms part of the Human Leukocyte Antigen – DR isotype and is already used to fight hepatitis C, human papilloma, arthritis, cervical cancer and Ebola.
According to President Nicolas Maduro, who unveiled the breakthrough, the IVIC plans on taking the results to the World Health Organization for “ratification” and “mass production” to contribute towards global anti-pandemic efforts. The antigen is also due to be added to Venezuela’s authorised Covid-19 treatments, which include Remdesivir and ozone therapy.
Venezuela remains one of the Latin American countries least-affected by the coronavirus pandemic. On Sunday, 423 new cases were identified, continuing the downward trend since daily cases peaked around 1200 last month. Authorities have already signed commercial deals with Russian- and Chinese- produced vaccines currently undergoing clinical trials, and government spokespersons have claimed to have “definitely flattened the curve.”
Authorities have recently authorised a further opening up of sectors of the economy, allowing tourist attractions, hotels, tour agencies and national parks to open on a week-on-week-off basis.
The Covid-19 announcement coincided with a surprise cabinet reshuffle on Sunday, with new ministers assigned to the electrical energy, tourism and interior relations, justice and peace portfolios.
Economist and former vice-minister Ali Padron is set to take over from Felix Plasencia as tourism minister, with the former minister taking over as Venezuela’s ambassador to China. Maduro thanked Plasencia for his attention to the tourism sector during the hard-hitting Covid-19 lockdown.
Likewise, Admiral Carmen Melendez, who was Venezuela’s first female defence minister and is currently Lara State governor, returns to the Interior Relations, Justice and Peace Ministry replacing fellow military commander Nestor Reverol. Reverol held the post for over four years and now assumes the electrical energy portfolio. The country’s electrical grid has drawn increasing criticism in recent months, as rolling blackouts continue to afflict many parts of the country.
Electoral dry run
Upon announcing the reshuffle, Maduro also congratulated the country on a successful electoral dry run on Sunday, in which state and party logistical, security, and mobilisation plans for the December 6 parliamentary elections were put to the test. He paid particular homage to the labour of the armed forces, civilian militia and the police, which were charged with keeping public order and applying Covid-19 protocols, as well as those participating.
“The Venezuelan people are offering the first sign that Sunday December 6 will be a great process to renovate the National Assembly (…) Venezuela is the only country which has an electoral dry run, offering a lesson to the world,” he said.
For her part, National Electoral Council (CNE) President Indira Alfonzo equally described the dry run as “successful,” with participation “exceeding expectations.” Nicanor Moscoso, from the Council of Latin American Electoral Experts (CEELA), one of the independent international organisations overseeing the process, explained that the dry run allows voters to “familiarise themselves with the technological process,” as well as the ballot layout and the Covid-19 protocols.
Venezuela is due to elect 277 lawmakers this December 6, with 107 different political parties on the ballot. A handful of hard-right groups have followed Washington’s lead in boycotting the elections which they already claim to be “fraudulent.” Caracas has invited a host of international organisations to monitor the process, including the European Union and the United Nations.
Last week, Maduro publicised proposals for twelve new laws for the upcoming parliament to consider, urging United Socialist Party (PSUV) candidates to present the legislation upon being elected.
One of Maduro’s proposals was to legalise same sex marriage in Venezuela, on the heels of unconnected remarks of a similar vein from Pope Francis last week.
Also included were proposals for laws against domestic violence, guaranteeing the right to recreation, stimulating entrepreneurship, promoting the use of crypto currencies, regulating the supply of public services including water and gas, stopping animal cruelty and fostering the construction of “communal cities.”
While few details were offered on the proposals, many of which emulate existing laws or government programs, the presidential backing for issues which grassroots campaign groups have lobbied for a long time was largely welcomed, including by the LGBTIQ community.
Others, however, have taken the campaign-time proposals more cynically, pointing out the government’s failure to implement the reforms whilst in control of the all-powerful National Constituent Assembly since 2017, as well as un-kept promises to include same sex marriage in a new constitution which, it was announced in last month, is not to be drafted before the body dissolves itself in December.