Cuba has begun trials of a coronavirus vaccine, known as Soberana (Sovereignty) 01. The vaccine project is being led by the Cuban Finlay Vaccine Institute. The vaccine is currently in a controlled and randomised clinical trial and is the first vaccine against the virus in Latin America to achieve certification by the World Health Organization.
The country’s biotech and pharmaceutical management group, BioCubaFarma, says that the candidate vaccine is “capable of producing a strong immune reaction to a SARS-COV-2 infection”. An industrial production strategy is being developed to build capacity to produce the millions of doses needed to protect its population.
While there is positive progress with the Soberana 01 trials, Cuba is also developing a second vaccine candidate, Soberana 2. This is awaiting authorisation to move to the trials stage.
The development of vaccines for coronavirus is not a chance event, BioCubaFarma president Dr. Eduardo Martínez Díaz told Granma, the official voice of the Communist Party of Cuba, on Wednesday 21 October. The country has significant experience in development and production of vaccines, including the first vaccines for hepatitis B and type B meningitis.
More than 98 per cent of the population have been vaccinated for a range of diseases, resulting in the elimination or reduction of severe infectious diseases.
While the US continues to blockade Cuba, other countries have recognised the importance of the biotechnology sector, as evidenced by cooperation between Cuba and the French government on vaccines over the last two years.
• See also "Fighing Covid-19, Cuba-style"