An online article published by El Pais describes how Cuba's own vaccines are showing encouraging efficacy in the ongoing fight against COVID-19, with levels similar to those developed by Pfizer or Moderna and higher than those of AstraZeneca.
Cuba filled with "hope and optimism" over vaccines
El Pais has published an online article describing how Cuba's homegrown vaccines are showing encouraging efficacy in the fight against COVID-19, with levels similar to those developed by Pfizer or Moderna and higher than those of AstraZeneca.
The Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (CIGB) reported that the Abdala vaccine has shown an efficacy of 92.28% after applying three doses to a group of more than 48,000 volunteers, while the Soberana 02 vaccine currently stands at 62% after two injections. However, the Finlay Vaccine Institute has stated that that figure should further increase after people have received the third jab.
As a result, the Centre for State Control of Medicines, Equipment and Medical Devices (CECMED), is to approve the widespread use on the island, so Abdala and later Sovereign 02 can be applied on a large scale.
As of today, about 20% of the Cuban population have received at least one dose of one of the vaccine candidates, and Dr. Jose Moya Medina, the island's representative of the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) is encouraged.
"This is excellent news and fills us with hope and optimism in the whole region." - Jose Moya, Pan American Health Organisation
Cuba's vaccines could be good news for the tourism industry
Cuba's fight to control the Coronavirus pandemic is astonishing for a country its size. Scientists on the island are currently working on no fewer than five vaccines: Soberana 1, Soberana 2 and Soberana Plus, all developed by the Finlay Vaccine Institute; as well as Abdala and Mambisa (the latter a nasal spray), both created by the Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology.
The Cuban health authorities' plan is to have 70% of the island's inhabitants vaccinated by September, and 100% by the end of the year.
This will go some way to kickstarting the tourism sector as holidaymakers will look to Cuba's efficiency in dealing with the pandemic as one of the main reasons to visit the island.
There's currently an ongoing drive to get everybody working in the tourism industry vaccinated in order to alleviate the industry, and there's a genuine thought that Cuba may re-appear on the UK's "green list" over the coming weeks.
This would be welcome news to British tourists hoping to get some Caribbean sunshine this Summer, especially as the UK's own vaccination drive has been rolled out so efficiently and many travellers will have received their own two jabs too.
Cuba leading the way in Latin America's fight
Cuba is well-equipped to take the bull by the horns and help tackle this crisis in the region. After all, as the El Pais article explains, this Caribbean nation does have more than 30 years of experience in producing vaccines.
Some, such as hepatitis B or anti-meningococcal have been widely used all over Latin America and other countries of the world after having been approved and supported by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
Moya believes that Cuba's history in biological, medicinal, and virological research in these fields is a strong guarantee that the Cuban vaccines will be of good quality. This is mainly because the Centre for State Control of Medicines, Equipment and Medical Devices has been working with the Pan American Health Organisation for years, and is considered one of the eight reference centres and the highest level in the region.
"With CECMED's approval, Cuba could start designing a vaccine export plan, even before the World Health Organisation gives it the go-ahead. Countries have autonomy to make bilateral agreements and if there is a country interested in acquiring Cuban vaccines, PAHO and WHO won't get involved. If all goes well, before the end of the year, the Cuban vaccines will be added to the eight already prequalified in the world." - Jose Moya, Pan American Health Organisation