Cuba started testing its own vaccine candidate against COVID-19, on Aug. 24.
Scientists at Finlay Institute, a major biotech centre in Havana, said their coronavirus vaccine looks promising and it has already shown positive results in mice and rabbits creating antibodies against the new coronavirus.
The initial testing in humans began last week to confirm the vaccine safety; the next phase of the trial will start in October and last through January to prove its effectiveness; and final results will be published in February 2021.
“I’m happy to share this news with our Canadians friends. The fact that Cuba is among the group of countries that is developing a vaccine against COVID-19 speaks volumes of the quality and strength of our health system and biotechnology and pharmaceutical industry,” said Lessner Gomez, director of The Cuba Tourist Board in Toronto.
Gomez continued: “Canadian tourists travelling to the island can rest assure that the Cuban health system is there to protect them and its services are largely available at all International clinics in every resort area and through the medical team of doctors and nurses at each and every hotel.”
Cuban scientists at Finlay Institute, which is well regarded internationally for its vaccine development and production, stressed that there are only 30 vaccine candidates approved for clinical studies and one of them is Cuban.
The Cuban vaccine candidate, Soberana 01, is the first in Latin America.
Cuba, known for strictly adhering to WHO regulations, is no stranger to vaccine research; the country produces 80% of the vaccines used within the national immunization program and in contrast to many other developing countries, it has a strong biotech sector.
Cuba has handled the pandemic quite efficiently and patients with COVID-19 are treated with medications that are mostly developed or produced by the Cuban biopharmaceutical industry.