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Cuba could start next March the emergency use of some of its COVID-19 vaccine candidates to immunize people at higher risk, Russia Today reported Monday.
The news was confirmed to Russia Today by the President of Cuba's Business Group of Biotechnology and Pharmaceutical Industries (BioCubaFarma), Eduardo Martinez. He declared that the island shows very positive results in its drugs Soberana 01, 02, Mambisa, and Abdala.
Martinez announced that the clinical studies of the Phase III vaccine could begin in March. "Based on the results, and knowing the results of other candidates at an international level, we could aspire to an emergency use to start making massive vaccinations to the people of greater risk," he affirmed.
He also said that the Caribbean island works and can successfully achieve "more than one drug" for different populations.
"One for children and another maybe for a group of people between 19 and 60 years old. That is not yet defined, but it is possible that it will be that way," Martinez said.
He stressed the need for Cuba to obtain its own vaccine as a matter of sovereignty and the scarcity and costs of importing another.
In this way—he pointed out—the country would also be one of the first to implement a massive vaccination campaign.
Recently, the scientists of the Center of Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (CIGB), the leaders of Mambisa and Abdala projects, concluded one of the first steps in the clinical trials in Phase I of their anti-Covid-19 vaccine candidates.
Mambisa finished the so-called short time of the study stipulated for day zero, day 14, and day 28, Miladys Limonta, manager of the trial, explained to Prensa Latina.
The research, which began with the first immunizations last December 7th at the Carlos J. Finlay Hospital in Cuba's capital city, has a sample size of 88 volunteers divided into four groups. The different administration routes will be analyzed: intramuscular and intradermal.
The second candidate of CIGB's candidates, Abdala, also concluded the short cycle that evaluates the dose ranges in a period of zero, 14 and 28 days.
On the other hand, the Sovereign 02 vaccine, developed by the Finlay Institute, started its Phase II clinical trials last December 22nd when the first volunteers received the immunization.
The efficacy studies of Soberana 02 will also be carried out in other countries with a high disease incidence.
The Finlay Institute is also making progress on the Sovereign 01 candidate, whose Phase I clinical trial was scheduled to conclude at the end of 2020.
Cuba was the first Latin American country to present a vaccine candidate against this disease on August 13th, 2020. The first nation of the continent to advance with another one to Phase II of clinical trials.