Cuba announces second effective Covid vaccine

Cuba says one of the Covid-19 vaccines in development on the island has shown a 92 percent efficacy rate. In an attempt to stop the spread of Covid cases, the island has started vaccinating its population using two experimental vaccines, as it hopes to come up Latin America’s first locally-produced shot.

The developers of the Abdala vaccine said Monday that it has shown an efficacy of 92.28 percent in late-stage clinical trials, though they did not specify whether this was measured against infection, disease, or death.

Over the weekend, another vaccine, Soberana 2, was shown to be 62 percent effective with just two of its three doses.

A man is vaccinated at a vaccination centre in Havana on 17 June 2021. Cuba has started innoculating its population with two experimental Covid vaccines in an attempt to stop the spread of the virus.

“Hit by the pandemic, our scientists at the Finlay Institute and Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology have risen above all the obstacles and given us two very effective vaccines,” President Miguel Diaz-Canel tweeted.

Both vaccines are expected to be granted emergency authority by local regulators shortly.

Authorities launched an immunisation campaign with the two vaccines a month ago, as part of “intervention studies” they hope will slow the spread of the virus.

Cuba has been relatively untouched by the virus, but has recently seen a sharp increase in cases.

About a million of the country’s 11.2 million residents have now been fully vaccinated to date, and according to official data, daily cases have halved in the capital, Havana.

Abdala and Soerana 2 are two of five Covid vaccine candidates being developed locally. Cuba produces nearly 80 percent of its vaccines, and it has opted not to import foreign Covid vaccines, hoping to develop a candidate to immunise its population and export abroad.

Several countries, including Argentina, Mexico, Venezuela and Vietnam have expressed an interest in buying Cuban vaccines.

Iran started producing Soberana 2 earlier this year as part of late-phase clinical trials.

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