Cuba vaccines created against all odds by researchers on the island to fight Covid can provide the much needed doses for countries that otherwise would not see a vaccine for some time
While Cuba is often on the news for its suppressive government, the country has been working hard to create the Cuba vaccines that could be a game-changer for the world. Cuba is an authoritarian state with strict policies on freedom of speech, political activism, and economic liberty. In spite of that, and against all odds they have come up with multiple potential vaccine options. Two of those potential vaccines are currently in the final stages of testing.
Since the 1980’s the Cuban Leader, Fidel Castro, has been interested in expanding the nation’s technological and medical capabilities. As part of this initiative, Cuba wanted to find a solution to dengue fever. This led to Cuba being the producer of eight out of the 11 approved vaccines of this sort of illness, which are exported to about 30 nations.
Similarly having a successful Covid vaccine could bring in plenty of tourism to Cuba and give developing countries struggling to keep the virus under control a solution. Iran and Venezuela have already demonstrated interest in the Cuban vaccines, and Iran even agreed to host the Phase 3 trials of one of the promising vaccines, Soberana 2. In exchange, millions of vaccine doses will be manufactured in Iran.
The two more advanced vaccines that Cuba is working on are Soberana 2, and Abdala. They each would require two to three doses to reach immunity. These will be affordable, easy to store serums that could last weeks if stored at room temperature. If the Phase 3 trials are successful, they plan on vaccinating the entire Havana population (about 1.7 million) by May 2021. By August 2021, they will vaccinate 60 percent of the Cuban population, and the rest of the people by the end of the year.
Should this be accomplished, Cuba will become one of the first nations of the world to reach herd immunity. With that, the government will possibly gain great prestige despite recent attacks for freedom of speech, and anti-human rights crackdowns in the San Isidro movement.
Interestingly, a researcher in Cuba earns $250 per month. However, the government has made investments in education and health care that created quite a sophisticated biotechnology field for the country. There are currently at least 31 companies dedicated to research and 62 factories that have more than 20,000 employees. The struggles with the creation of the vaccine will come with obtaining the supplies, as many are hard to obtain in part due to U.S. sanctions.
Cuba has hinted that it will supply the vaccine for free to poorer nations but will aim to make a profit on those that can afford to pay. This may provide some financial relief as the country is in an economic crisis with people waiting hours to obtain soap and toothpaste.