Cuba to administer its own Covid vaccine in early 2021

Cuba approves second homegrown COVID vaccine for late phase trials

HAVANA, Dec.30th   Cuba will be able to administer its own COVID vaccine to its entire population in the first half of 2021, according to a senior health official.

The island will be able “to immunize the Cuban population against the Covid virus in the first half of 2021”, declared the director of the Finlay Vaccination Institute (IFV), Vicente Vérez Bencomo, quoted Tuesday by the official newspaper Granma.

Two vaccine candidates against COVID-19 are being developed at IFV, Soberana01 and Soberana02.

Mr. Bencomo made the statements during a visit to the institute of Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel.

“The soberanas have made good progress in their clinical trials, the first is completing phase 1 and the second is entering phase 2,” he said.

About a thousand volunteers will be administered different variants of Soberana 2 in January, then once the assessments are done, phase 3 can begin with the participation of 150,000 people in Havana, he continued.

Negotiations are also underway to carry out phase 3 of Soberana 2 in other countries, given the low prevalence of COVID-19 among the Cuban population.

The Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology is also working on two candidate vaccines against the virus, called Mambisa and Abdala.

Cuban scientists are experienced in vaccine research. The national childhood vaccination program provides for 11 vaccines, 8 of which are manufactured on the island, to fight against 13 diseases.

Although a resurgence in the number of cases is currently observed due to an opening of the borders, the number of cases remains low in Cuba, in particular, compared to its neighbours: it stood on Sunday at 11,434 cases including 143 deaths, for a population of 11.2 million inhabitants.