Cuba started its Covid-19 mass vaccination marketing campaign greater than a month in the past with homegrown, unproven vaccines, wagering that they’d show efficient sufficient to blunt the speedy unfold of the coronavirus on the cash-strapped Caribbean island.
The gamble seems to be paying off.
The Cuban well being authorities stated on Monday that their nation’s three-shot Abdala vaccine had proved about 92 p.c efficient in opposition to the coronavirus in late-stage scientific trials.
All through the pandemic, Cuba has declined to import international vaccines whereas striving to develop its personal, the smallest nation on the planet to take action.
The announcement locations Abdala among the many best Covid vaccine on the planet, based on knowledge from scientific trials, on a par with Pfizer-BioNTech’s 95 p.c price, Moderna’s 94.1 p.c, and Russia’s Sputnik V at 91.6 p.c.
On Saturday, Cuba’s state-run biotech company, BioCubaFarma, stated that one other of its vaccines, Sovereign 2, had 62 p.c efficacy after two of its three required doses. Outcomes for the total three doses are anticipated within the subsequent few weeks.
The vaccine information was seen as a uncommon trigger for celebration on an island that has been hammered each by the pandemic, which has devastated its tourism trade, and by Trump-era financial sanctions that haven’t been eased by the Biden administration.
Cuba is presently experiencing its worst coronavirus outbreak for the reason that begin of the pandemic. It reported 1,561 new instances on Monday, a document.
In Could the well being authorities began a mass vaccination campaign in Havana earlier than the completion of Part 3 trials, which assess a vaccine’s effectiveness and security. The emergency step was supposed to assist fight the Beta variant, first detected in South Africa, which was spreading quickly within the Cuban capital. Shut to 1 million Cubans — about 9 p.c of the nationwide inhabitants — have now acquired all three doses of both Abdala or Sovereign 2, based on official figures. Officers say they’re seeing a slowing of the virus’s unfold in Havana, the place vaccinations have been concentrated to this point.
International locations together with Mexico, Argentina, Vietnam and Iran have expressed curiosity in Cuba’s coronavirus vaccines. The excessive introduced price of efficacy might reinforce hopes that biotechnology exports will assist raise Cuba from the depths of its financial disaster.