Cuba encouraged by early efficacy of COVID-19 vaccine | Coronavirus epidemic News:

Cuba’s Soberana 2 vaccine candidate shows 62% efficacy in trials with two of its three doses, says BioCubaFarma.

Cuba’s Soberana 2 vaccine candidate has shown 62 percent efficacy in just two of its three doses, according to state-run BioCubaFarma biomedical corporation, citing preliminary data from late-stage trials.

Cuba, whose biotechnology industry has exported vaccines for decades, has five vaccine candidates in clinical trials, two of whom, Soberana 2 and Abdallah, are in the late stages.

“In a few weeks, we should get results in three doses, which we think will be higher,” said Vicente Veres, director of the Finlay Vaccine Institute, which developed Soberana 2.

The news comes at a time when the Caribbean’s largest island is experiencing its worst outbreak since the start of the epidemic, with more infectious versions arriving, with new records of daily coronavirus cases.

During a Phase III trial of a Cuban pilot vaccine candidate, a nurse prepares a dose of Soberana-02 COVID-19 vaccine for a volunteer [Jorge Luis Banos/Pool via Reuters]

The communist-led country preferred not to import foreign vaccines, but rather to rely on itself. Experts say it is a risky bet, but if it works, Cuba could tarnish its scientific reputation, generate much-needed currency through exports, and boost the vaccine engine around the world.

“We know our government has not been able to provide all the funding it needs to demand this project, but it is still the result of a global position,” said President Miguel Diaz-Kanel during a televised presentation on state television on Saturday.

From Argentina to the Americas to Mexico and Venezuela, several countries have expressed interest in buying Cuban vaccines. Iran began production of Soberana 2 earlier this year as part of its latest phase-in clinical trials.

Cuban authorities have launched massive experimental vaccines as part of an “intervention study” that they hope will slow the spread of the virus.

According to official data, the number of cases in the capital has halved every day since the start of this vaccination campaign, although this may be due to tighter blocking measures.

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