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Cuban ambassador to Belize: “We are very proud” of vaccine success

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Posted: Tuesday, June 22, 2021. 8:59 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: The news of success with the trials of Cuban-made Soberana-02 and Abdala COVID-19 vaccines is not only good for Cuba, but for the region generally, Cuban Ambassador to Belize Her Excellency Lissette Perez told us this evening.

“We can say that we are very proud of the result today because we have two vaccines to use in Cuba and beyond,” she stated in a telephone interview. “I can assure you that by August up to 70 percent of the population will be vaccinated,” a target she says can help her country return to normal in terms of the economy and tourism, vital sources of national revenue.

And Cuba will assist, as it has with its brigades of medical professionals, with the distribution of vaccines to lesser-off nations in the region including Belize.

Cuba has been developing as many as five vaccines, but these two have made it to the clinical trial stage.

According to Prensa Latina, The Finlay Vaccine Institute (IFV) said that two doses of its Soberana 02 formula proved 62 percent effective in Phase 3 clinical trials involving 44,000 people, while the Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (CIGB), reported that its three-dose vaccine, Abdala, achieved 92 percent efficacy among 48,000 test subjects. These are better than the 50 percent worldwide standard for acceptance.

IFV and CIGB said they plan to ask Cuba’s Cecmed regulatory agency to issue emergency use authorizations for their respective vaccines as Cuba battles a third wave of Covid-19 infections.

Once Cecmed gives the green light, the next step will be seeking certification from the World Health Organization (WHO), but according to Ambassador Perez it has already been tried in various Cuban municipalities and in particular the capital, Havana.

‘Sovereignty in biotechnology’ was the vision of late Cuban President Fidel Castro after the United States’ ongoing economic embargo established a half-century ago ended access to American-made vaccines and medicines. In turn, Ambassador Perez said, it was Castro’s vision to share Cuba’s advances within the region. The country maintains a low-cost health service that has been widely praised.

Argentina and Venezuela have expressed interest in acquiring vaccines from Cuba, while the Iranian government said it plans to issue an emergency use authorization for Soberana 02 as early as this week.

Current Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel Bermudez tweeted today that “Yours is the success,” and that the country now has five answers to a sovereign response against COVID-19, far more than the one he had asked for from Cuban scientists.

Diaz-Canel further assured that the victory of Cuban vaccines is only comparable to the size of the nation’s sacrifices and is a wake-up call from the poor of the earth, a warning of the power of resistance, unity, consecration and love for the homeland.

Some 4,855,270 doses of the Soberana and Abdala vaccines have been applied as part of the health intervention, intervention studies and clinical trials, according to Cuba’s Ministry of Health.

As of June 20, 4,892,044 total doses had been administered: 2,244,350 people have received at least one dose of one of the Cuban vaccine candidates. Of these, 1,734,637 people already have a second dose and 913,057 people have a third dose.

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