Cuba encouraged by the first efficacy results of the COVID-19 vaccine | Coronavirus pandemic news


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

Cuba’s Sovereign Vaccine 2 vaccine has shown 62% effectiveness with just two of its three doses, according to state biopharmaceutical corporation BioCubaFarma, which cites preliminary data from final-phase trials.

Cuba, whose biotechnology sector has exported vaccines for decades, has five candidate vaccines in clinical trials, two of which – Sovereign 2 and Abdala – are in final phase trials.

“In a few weeks we should have efficacy results with three doses that we hope will be superior,” said Vicente Vérez, director of the Finlay Vaccine Institute, which developed Sovereign 2.

The news comes as the largest island in the Caribbean faces its worst outbreak since the start of the pandemic following the arrival of more contagious variants, setting new records for daily coronavirus cases.

A nurse prepares a dose of the Sovereign-02 COVID-19 vaccine for a volunteer as part of the phase III trials of the experimental candidate for the Cuban vaccine [Jorge Luis Banos/Pool via Reuters]

The communist-led country has chosen not to import foreign vaccines, but to rely on its own. Experts say it is a risky gamble, but if it pays off, Cuba could burn its scientific reputation, generate much-needed hard currency through exports, and strengthen the worldwide vaccination drive.

“We know that our government has not been able to provide this project with all the funding it required and yet this is the result of the world position,” President Miguel Diaz-Canel said in presenting the results to state television Saturday.

Several countries in Argentina and Jamaica in Mexico and Venezuela have expressed interest in buying vaccines from Cuba. Iran began producing Sovereign 2 earlier this year as part of final-phase clinical trials.

Cuban authorities have begun massively administering experimental vaccines as part of “intervention studies” that hope to curb the spread of the virus.

Daily cases have been halved in the capital since the start of this vaccination campaign, according to official data, although this may also be due to stricter blocking measures.

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