Cuba is developing its own vaccines

In a school in Havana, November 2, 2020. – Ramon Espinosa / AP / SIPA

Between Moderna, Sputnik or Pfizer, Cuba will not need to choose. The island plans to launch a vast vaccination campaign against Covid-19 during the first half of 2021 with its own vaccine, announced a senior health sector official quoted on Tuesday by the state daily. Granma.

Soberana01 and Soberna02

Vicente Vérez Bencomo, director of the Finlay Institute (IFV) specializing in research and production of vaccines, made the statements during a visit by Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel to the premises of the institute where are developed two vaccine candidates against Covid-19: Soberana01 and Soberna02.

“01 will complete phase 1 of clinical trials and 02 will start phase 2,” said Vicente Vérez. According to the researcher, 1,000 volunteers will participate in the tests of different Soberana02 formulas “to then, after evaluations (…) start phase 3” with the participation of 150,000 volunteers in Havana. At the same time, negotiations are underway to implement phase 3 trials of this vaccine candidate in other countries, due to the low prevalence of Covid-19 among the Cuban population.

Two other candidate vaccines against Covid-19, called Mambisa and Abdala, are also being developed in Cuba by the Center for Genetic and Biotechnological Engineering. The island, which has 11.2 million inhabitants, has so far managed to keep the spread of the epidemic under control, with 11,434 cases reported and 143 deaths, according to the latest official figures from Sunday.

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