Cuba entered the race to develop vaccines against Covid-19 with several candidates. One of them, Soberana 2, entered phase 3 of clinical trials at the beginning of March, becoming the first Latin American candidate to reach this advanced stage. Although it is still being studied, the immunizer is already applied in the country, in health professionals.
Soon, Cuban authorities plan to ask health agencies for emergency use not only of Sovereign 2, but of Abdala, another vaccine developed in the country that is already in the final phase of clinical trials. As part of the tests and expanded access, Cuban authorities want to vaccinate 1.7 million Havana residents by May.
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About 44,000 volunteers, aged between 19 and 80, participate in phase 3 of the Sovereign 2 study, which assesses the safety and efficacy of the vaccine. Participants were divided into three groups: some will receive two doses with a 28-day interval between them, others will receive two doses plus an additional one and the third a placebo.
Recruitment and application of the first dose is now complete. The expectation, according to the deputy director Yury Valdés, is that this stage lasts approximately three months, after the last dose is applied.
In total, four vaccine candidates are under development in Cuba: in addition to Soberana 2 and Abdala, there are Soberana 1 (phase 2) and Mambisa (phase 1). The first three are administered by injection, while the fourth by nasal spray. All of them use recombinant protein technology, the same technique used in the American Novavax.
Cuba is facing an increase in the number of cases and deaths from the disease. According to Reuters information, the country has between 600 and 1,000 new cases of Covid-19 a day, well above last year’s average. However, the country has one of the lowest per capita rates of the disease. Since the beginning of the pandemic, Cuba has registered 68,250 cases and 401 deaths. The government’s goal is to vaccinate the entire population of the island, 11 million, by the end of the year.
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