Venezuela to Begin Clinical Trials of Cuba’s Vaccine Candidate | News on the coronavirus pandemic

The Venezuelan health minister said the nation hopes to produce enough doses of Cuban vaccine to immunize four million people.

Venezuela will begin clinical trials of the Cuban coronavirus vaccine candidate Abdala this month, Health Minister Carlos Alvarado said on Monday, as the country plans to produce enough doses locally to immunize four million people.

Cuba in March approved advanced stage trials by Abdala, named after a poem by 19th-century Cuban independence hero Jose Marti.

The trials are due to end in July and the first results to be published in August, according to Cuban state media.

“We are going to start a clinical study with this vaccine, but simultaneously adapt our national vaccine laboratory to produce, if all goes well as we hope, doses for four million people,” Alvarado told national television. from Venezuela.

A Venezuelan opposition supporter wearing a face mask reading ‘Vaccines now’ during a May 1 rally in Caracas on May 1 [Leonardo Fernandez Viloria/Reuters]

Alvarado spoke at Venezuela’s main airport in the capital Caracas, where he announced that the country has received another 50,000 Russian vaccines against Sputnik V. He said the country has now received a total of 1, 48 million doses of coronavirus vaccine.

Alvarado also said the new vaccine shipment would be used to inoculate the country’s roughly 360,000 health workers, as well as to begin the process of immunizing the elderly and those at risk.

The government of President Nicolas Maduro plans to start receiving vaccines from the COVAX global immunization program by July, the health minister added, without specifying which vaccines would arrive.

Maduro, whose national economy is in a sharp recession marked by hyperinflation in March, said he would not allow the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine following reports of blood clotting.

Supporters of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro take part in a march to commemorate May 1 in Caracas, Venezuela on May 1 [Leonardo Fernandez Viloria/Reuters]

COVAX said in February that it has reserved up to 2.4 million doses of AstraZeneca for Venezuela.

Official data shows the country is suffering from a second wave of COVID-19 infections, with a weekly daily average of more than 1,200 new infections.

There are now fears that hospitals that suffered from a lack of medicine, understaffing and power outages even before the pandemic could collapse.

More than 200,000 cases of coronavirus and at least 2,170 deaths have been reported in Venezuela to date, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University.

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