[News] Cuba Will Produce 100 Million Doses of Its COVID-19 Vaccine

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Thu Jan 21 14:35:34 EST 2021

Will Produce 100 Million Doses of Its COVID-19 VaccineJanuary 20, 2021

"We are reorganizing our production capacities because we really have a lot
of demand for the vaccine and we have to prepare ourselves," Vicente Vérez,
director of the Finlay Institute, told a group of journalists at a
conference in which he gave a tour of the laboratory where the vaccine
against COVID-19 is manufactured.

The Finlay Institute has created both Soberana 02 and Soberana 01, the
latter in a less advanced research phase. Other biotechnology centers on
the island are working on two more vaccine candidates, Abdala and Mambisa.


*Cuba's Soberana 02 Vaccine Starts Phase II of Clinical Trials*

The 100 million doses planned would be only of Soberana 02. There are
already countries interested in acquiring it, such as Vietnam, Iran, and
Venezuela, among others, with which the island has collaboration
agreements, including Pakistan and India, Vérez said.

This week began the second part of a Phase II trial of this product with
900 patients -- who joined about a hundred from the first stage -- at a
polyclinic in the capital; The Associated Press reported the day before.

The volunteers -- one group of whom received a placebo as part of the
study, although they will be immunized with the actual vaccine once it is
over -- said they reported no discomfort. Even some neighbors at the
polyclinic came forward to volunteer as part of the trial.

After being injected, people--ranging in age from 19 to 80 years--waited at
the same polyclinic before returning home and were followed up at 24, 48,
and 72 hours.

Vérez stressed that the antigen is safe after pointing out that it does not
contain the live virus. Still, parts of it, so—according to the expert—its
placement generates immunity but does not cause significant reactions and
therefore does not need extra refrigeration, like other candidates in the

Meanwhile, Finlay's researchers are working with countries such as Italy
and Canada to verify the impact of these vaccines -especially Soberana 01-
on people who have already had COVID-19 and are convalescent but at risk of
reinfection. Effectiveness is also being assessed for the impact of new
mutations such as the one described in Great Britain, Japan, or California.

Over the next few weeks, vaccination will be extended to 150,000 people on
the island, confirmed Vérez, on the way to mass immunization, and a test
will be carried out in February to protect children with Soberana 02, he

After several months of keeping the pandemic under control, Cuba suffered a
resurgence at the beginning of this year, after the opening of its airports
and despite having a preventive health protocol. From March to date, 19,122
infections and 180 deaths have accumulated on the island.

The scientist did not offer details of the price that the vaccine will have
for its sale to other countries. In Cuba, its administration will be free
and voluntary.

Despite being a small country, Cuba has a developed scientific pole that
produces almost all the vaccines it needs and state-of-the-art medicines.

"Cuba's strategy of commercializing the vaccine has a combination of
humanity and impact on health and the need of our system to sustain
(financially) the production of vaccine and medicines for the country,"
expressed Vérez.

"We are not a multinational where the (financial) return is the number one
reason," he added. "We work the other way around; creating more health and
return is a consequence; it will never be the priority."
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