Pedro Kouri National Institute of Tropical Medicine

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Last Updated: February 1, 2004
Other Name: El Instituto Nacional de Medicina Tropical Pedro Kourí; IPK; Pedro Kouri Institute
Location: Ciudad de La Habana, Cuba
Subordinate To: Unknown
Size: Unknown
Facility Status: Unknown

Research and teaching are the two main goals of IPK. Its researchers attempt to collaborate both with Cuban institutions and epidemiology centers worldwide. Both undergraduate and graduate students are able to participate in courses at the institute, with students coming from throughout Latin America. Scientists at the institute report that students from 72 countries have participated in IPK courses. IPK also has a BL-3 containment laboratory.

Currently, IPK is involved in many different types of research including:

  • Clinical, epidemiological, and laboratory studies of diseases exotic to Cuba
  • Zoonosis
  • Intestinal parasitic diseases
  • Infections of the central nervous system
  • Infection in immunodepressed patients
  • Research on acute respiratory infections

The institute houses a World Health Organization (WHO) and Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO) collaborative center, the WHO/PAHO Collaborating Center for the Study of Viral Diseases, which focuses on viral diseases affecting humans, particularly dengue fever and measles. Using recombinant techniques, IPK currently is researching a vaccine against dengue fever, which has been a priority project for the institute since the 1980s. The National System for Epidemiological Surveillance, also developed by the IPK, has been utilized by epidemiologists from different countries, and the technology has been purchased by the Columbian Ministry of Health.

According to a publication of The Endowment for Cuban American Studies, Luis Roberto Hernandez, a former Cuban entomologist, claimed that scientists working in biotechnology were under extremely tight security, and those at IPK were unable to walk through different areas of the building. Also, IPK participates in few collaborative projects with Russia, unlike some of the other institutes within Cuba.

[1] Pedro Kouri Institute Website,
[2] Manuel Limonta, "Biotechnology and the Third World: Development Strategies in Cuba," Biomedical Science and the Third World, ed., Barry Bloom and Anthony Cerami, (New York: New York Academy of Sciences, 1989), pp. 325-333.
[3] Maria C. Werlau, "Does Cuba have biochemical weapons?" Cuba: Assessing the Threat to US Security, ed., Adolfo Leyva, (Miami: The Endowment for Cuban American Studies, 2001), pp. 99-128.
[4] Glenn Baker (ed.), Cuban biotechnology: A first-hand report, Washington, DC: Center for Defense Information, 20 May 2003.
[5] Permanent Mission of the Republic of Cuba to the United Nations, Republic of Cuba Submitted Persuant to Paragraph 6 of Security Council Resolution 1373 (2001).

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