Wow—Cuban 🇨🇺 government says it is on the brink of a successful #COVID19 vaccine invented in Cuba & mass production for export. 1 of 4 vaccines developed by Cuban scientists will enter final phase of testing next month. It may even offer it to tourists.
2) The vaccine heading for Phase 3 trial, is called Sovereign 2, in a nod to the pride the island takes in its autonomy. Already, Cuba is floating the idea of enticing tourists to its shores with the irresistible cocktail of sun, sand and a shot of Sovereign 2.
3) Vicente Vérez, one of the scientists leading the team that developed the vaccine, has said that the island could offer vaccinations to all foreigners who travel there.
4) Cuban scientists say the government will probably give away some doses to poor countries, in keeping with its longstanding practice of strengthening international relations by donating medicine and sending doctors to address public health crises abroad.
5) “Cuba always donated vaccines,” said Gerardo Guillén, a scientist developing two of the four vaccines at the state-owned Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology. “We help other countries.”
6) Cuba’s investment in public health gave rise to dozens of medical research institutions and a surplus of doctors, which Cuba sends to other countries in medical missions.
In 2019, the leasing of doctors, nurses and technicians brought in $5.4 billion, twice as much as tourism
7) “The island’s biotech sector is also well developed. Cuba makes eight of the 12 vaccines administered to children on the island and exports vaccines to more than 30 countries.
“It is a biotech juggernaut,” said Gail Reed, the editor of MEDICC Review
8) “Cuban scientists have also developed innovative treatments, including a lung cancer vaccine, which is in trials with the New York-based Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center.
9) “Sometimes people think because it’s Cuba, they’re just making these drugs in their garage and giving them to people, and that’s not true,” said Candace Johnson, Roswell Park’s president.
10) “They’re very much practicing with exactly the same high standards that every other country does producing these drugs.”
11) Producing the coronavirus vaccine was made more complicated by the Trump administration’s tightening of sanctions on Cuba. Scientists say they haven’t been able to buy all the equipment and raw materials they need, including spectrometers.
12) “The two research groups working on the drug have only one that is powerful enough to analyze the vaccine, Dr. Guillén said, and it’s about 20 years old.
“Cubans not only are able to make old cars still work, they can manage to make old equipment work,”
13) The Sovereign 2 vaccine has progressed through two phases of trials and is set to enter a third phase, where it will be tested on around 150,000 people in Cuba and in Iran. Mexico is also in talks with the Cubans to participate in the third phase of trials.
14) Like the vaccine being developed by Novavax, a U.S. company, Sovereign 2 is a protein-based vaccine that contains part of the coronavirus. It requires three doses administered in two-week intervals
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