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Mon, June 21, 2021, 8:05 PM·2 min read

Marc Jranjk

Article: Abdala Vaccine

HAVANA, June 21 (Reuters) – Cuba said on Monday its three-shot Abdala
vaccine against the coronavirus had proved 92.28% effective in last-stage
clinical trials.   The announcement came
just days after the government said another homegrown vaccine, Soberana 2, had
proved 62% effective with just two of its three doses.

“Hit by the pandemic, our scientists at the Finlay Institute and
Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology have risen above all the
obstacles and given us two very effective vaccines,” President Miguel
Diaz-Canel tweeted.

The announcement came from state-run biopharmaceutical corporation
BioCubaFarma, which oversees Finlay, the maker of Soberana 2, and the Center
for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology, the producer of Abdala. Both vaccines
are expected to be granted emergency authority by local regulators shortly.

Cuba, whose biotech sector has exported vaccines for decades, has five
coronavirus vaccine candidates.

The Caribbean’s largest island is facing its worst COVID-19 outbreak
since the start of the pandemic following the arrival of more contagious
variants, setting new records for daily coronavirus cases.

The Communist-run country has opted not to import foreign vaccines but
to rely on its own. Some experts said it was a risky bet but it appears to have
paid off, putting Cuba in position to burnish its scientific reputation,
generate much-needed hard currency through exports and strengthen the
vaccination drive worldwide.

Several countries from Argentina and Jamaica to Mexico, Vietnam and
Venezuela have expressed an interest in buying Cuba’s vaccines. Iran started
producing Soberana 2 earlier this year as part of late-phase clinical trials.

Cuba’s authorities have already started administering the experimental
vaccines en masse as part of “intervention studies” they hope will
slow the spread of the virus.  About a
million of the country’s 11.2 million residents have been fully vaccinated to

Daily cases have halved in the capital, Havana, since the start of the
vaccination campaign a month ago, using Abdala, according to official data.  Cuba has reported a total of 169,365 COVID-19
cases and 1,170 deaths.