In full international search to add options to the list of Covid vaccines enabled in Argentina in the medium term, the Minister of Health, Carla Vizzotti, visited Cuba where she met with President Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez. The minister traveled to the island with the presidential adviser Cecilia Nicolini, since together they make up the pair that has dealt with the main negotiations for vaccines since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic.
The objective of the trip to Cuba was to learn about the progress in the development of the Soberana 02 and Abdala vaccines, two of the five alternatives in which the Caribbean country is working. The Sovereign Alternative 02 completed phase 3 of clinical trials in the last week, while Abdala did so at the end of April but they still do not have final approval. However, more than a million people who are part of the health personnel or risk groups who signed up voluntarily have already been inoculated. Cuba is not part of the Covax mechanism that distributes vaccines worldwide to countries with fewer possibilities, nor did it negotiate the purchase with Russia and China, thus working against the clock to reach its own immunization alternative.
“We are talking about the common project and about working not only to value a fully developed, produced and applied vaccine in Latin America, but also to do so in other areas of health and science and technology,” said Vizzotti at the end of the meeting with Diaz Canel.
The official said that Argentina “is working hard to strengthen ties, access the vaccine, but above all collaborate in everything it can, both from what is the provision of inputs, the possibility of purchase and support to scale the production and advance with our regulatory entity and that of Cuba, study the interim analysis of Phase 3 and expand the possibility of research in scenarios such as our country, which can also give a very interesting role to the vaccine ”. The mention of Vizzotti is linked to Cuba’s demand for the blockade imposed by the United States to be relaxed, which prevents the arrival of at least 20 million syringes to the country to apply vaccines to the population and other vital supplies for the process.
Vizzotti explained that putting the vaccine in value ranges “from basic research to production and closing the virtuous circle by applying it to the population, how people receive the vaccine with great hope, as in Argentina.” According to what the minister explained, one of the alternatives is for Argentina to join the possibility of advancing with the investigations in the country, with which the bilateral talks will continue.
From Havana, Díaz Canel sent President Alberto Fernández an invitation to visit Cuba when “a very important percentage of the population is already vaccinated in both countries,” he said.
Before the visit to Cuba, Vizzotti and Nicolini were in Mexico to closely follow the production and release of the AstraZeneca vaccine that is produced jointly by that country and Argentina and that will begin to arrive in the coming days.