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International Groups Rally to Help Cuba Get Syringes To Vaccinate Population

International Groups Rally to Help Cuba Get Syringes To Vaccinate Population

May 28 (EIRNS)–The U.S. economic blockade of Cuba, in place since 1962, plus more recent sanctions imposed by the U.S. government, make it impossible for Cuba to obtain the 20 million syringes it needs to vaccinate its 11.2 million citizens against COVID. It has already vaccinated one million people with its Soberana 2 and Abdala vaccines, but hopes to begin a mass vaccination campaign by sometime in June, as soon as its regulatory agency grants emergency use authorization and phase 3 clinical trials are completed. Operating under the slogan “the blockade kills–your solidarity kills the blockade,” many international charitable organizations and Cuban solidarity groups, from the U.S., Europe and Ibero-America have begun raising funds to purchase the syringes and send them to Cuba, Telam news agency reported today. This collaborative effort expects to be able to raise enough money to buy and send all 20 million syringes

Cuba Vaccinated One Million People With COVID Vaccine; Plans to Immunize Entire Adult Population This Year

Cuba Has Vaccinated One Million People With Its COVID Vaccine; Plans to Immunize Entire Adult Population This Year

May 26 (EIRNS)–Cuba has now vaccinated one million people with its Soberana 2 and Abdala COVID vaccines, both of which are in late-stages of Phase 3 trials, and are two of five vaccines being developed. A sixth vaccine, known as Pan-Corona, is being developed with the Chinese, described as a next-generation vaccine which is more effective against various SARS-CoV-2 strains, Telam news agency reported May 22. Both vaccines require 3 doses. Soberana 2 was developed by Cuba’s prestigious Finley Vaccine Institute which in 1989 developed a vaccine for Meningitis-B. BioCubaPharma, Cuba’s state-run biomedical company, developed Abdala, and its president Eduardo Martinez Diaz estimates that all of Cuba’s adult population will have been vaccinated by the end of this year.

Cuba is experiencing a surge in cases, as are many Caribbean and Central American nations. Health Minister Jose Angel Portal estimates that by the end of June, 22.6% of the population will have been vaccinated; 33.5% by the end of July, and 70% by the end of August. Cuba’s regulatory agency is expected to approve emergency use authorization, at least for Soberana 2, in June, at which point the government can begin its mass vaccination program. Those currently being vaccinated are volunteers from high-risk groups, healthcare workers or residents of those regions most severely affected by COVID. This achievement has provoked the ire of the {New York Times} which published a teeth-gnashing article May 12 complaining that the island government is administering “home grown vaccines that have not been shown to work.”

Other developing nations have no such qualms about obtaining Cuban vaccines, which are the product of its state-of-the-art biomedical/biotechnology industry which has been developed over decades. Iran, Argentina, Mexico, Jamaica and Vietnam, among others, are interested in obtaining the vaccine. Today, Argentina’s Health Minister Carla Vizzotti and presidential adviser Cecilia Nicolini arrived in Havana, to meet with officials to discuss how the Soberana 2 and Abdala vaccines were developed and whether they can be mass-produced, the daily {Infobae} reported today. The Argentine government is already in negotiations with Cuban officials on purchasing the vaccines, once Phase 3 trials are completed, and is interested in determining whether Argentina can eventually participate in producing them. Because the Soberana 2 vaccine doesn’t require refrigeration, it is especially attractive to developing countries.

China, Cuba Collaborate To Create a New, More Complex ‘Pan Corona’ Vaccine

China and Cuba Collaborate To Create a New, More Complex ‘Pan Corona’ Vaccine

April 7 (EIRNS)—Cuba’s Biotechnology and Genetic Engineering Center (CIBG) is collaborating with China’s Joint Biotechnology Innovation Center based in Yongzhou, Hunan province, to produce a new vaccine, named Pan-Corona, to combat the SARS-CoV-2 virus, CubaDebate (against Media Terrorism) news site reported April 6. The vaccine being developed is described as a broad-spectrum one that would be effective against many different strains of the virus. CIBG’s director of biomedical sciences Dr. Gerardo Guillén explained that while the new vaccines shouldn’t be considered a “super vaccine,” it is definitely more complex than existing ones “because it’s more difficult to protect against different strains of the coronavirus which are not yet known,” Xinhua reported him as saying March 26.

China and Cuba have collaborated for two decades and have established five joint biotechnology companies. With China, Dr. Guillén told Xinhua, “we have scientific capabilities, equipment, logistics and resources, all based on the magnificent relations of friendship and hard work which really makes scientific development possible.” Cuba brings to bear its own advanced biomedical and biotechnological capabilities developed over decades, born out of necessity because of the economic blockade opposed on the country in 1962 which often made acquisition of medical supplies and equipment impossible. Also of interest is CubaDebate’s report that for 26 years, Cuba has received 10 gold medals from the World Intellectual Property Organization, as it has exported its biomedical products to 49 countries.

With five coronavirus vaccines in development, two of which, Soberana 2 and Abdala, are in Phase 3 clinical trials, Cuba is already planning to make them available to developing countries that cannot afford the prices charged by large pharmaceutical companies. Outside of Cuba, volunteers in Iran and Venezuela are participating in Soberana 2’s clinical trials, but other countries—Mexico, Argentina, Vietnam, Pakistan, India and the African Union (representing 55 countries)—have already expressed interest in acquiring the Soberana 2 and the other Cuban vaccines once trials are concluded. Cuba sets variable prices on its vaccines, depending on individual countries’ ability to pay.