Cuban vaccine candidate Soberana 2 shows 62 percent efficacy with two of its three doses in trials, according to BioCubaFarma.
Cuban vaccine candidate Soberana 2 has shown 62% efficacy with just two of its three doses, state-owned biopharmaceutical company BioCubaFarma said, citing preliminary late-phase trial data.
Cuba, whose biotechnology industry has exported vaccines for decades, has five vaccine candidates in clinical trials, two of which – Soberana 2 and Abdala – are in advanced stages of testing.
“In a few weeks we should have the results of the efficacy with three doses which we hope will be higher,” said Vicente Vérez, director of the Finlay Vaccine Institute, which developed Soberana 2.
The news comes as the largest Caribbean island faces its worst outbreak since the start of the pandemic following the arrival of more contagious variants, setting new records for daily coronavirus cases.
The communist-ruled country has chosen not to import foreign vaccines but rather to rely on its own. Experts say it’s a risky bet, but if it pays off, Cuba could boost its scientific reputation, generate much-needed hard currency through exports and boost the vaccination campaign around the world.
“We know that our government has not been able to provide this project with all the funding it needed, and yet this is the result of a global position,” President Miguel Diaz-Canel said during the presentation of the results on public television on Saturday.
Several countries, from Argentina and Jamaica to Mexico and Venezuela, have expressed interest in purchasing Cuban vaccines. Iran started producing Soberana 2 earlier this year in late phase clinical trials.
Cuban authorities have started mass administering the experimental vaccines as part of “intervention studies” that they hope will slow the spread of the virus.
Daily cases have halved in the capital since the start of this vaccination campaign, according to official data, although this could also be due to tighter lockdown measures.