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Cuba Touts Effectiveness Of Its Vaccines — And Not A Moment Too Soon As COVID Surges There

Ramon Espinosa
An elderly Cuban man receives one of the preliminary doses of the country's Abdala COVID-19 vaccine in Havana in May.

Cuba says its Abdala and Soberana vaccines look ready for wider use — good news as COVID cases spike and less than a tenth of the population is fully vaccinated.

This week Cuba says one of the COVID-19 vaccines the country's developing — called Abdala — is 92% effective after its three doses. It says another homegrown vaccine — Soberana 2 — is 62% effective after two of its three doses.

That seems to be a promising breakthrough for the communist island’s biopharma industry. Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel tweeted that his country’s Finlay Institute and Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology “have risen above all the obstacles and given us two very effective vaccines.”

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And not a moment too soon. Largely because its cash-strapped economy is in worse tatters than usual thanks to the pandemic, Cuba has not sought vaccines elsewhere — not even from the international COVAX project for poorer countries.

The trial domestic doses it’s administered so far have fully vaccinated less than a tenth of the population — and right now Cuba is experiencing one of its worst surges of COVID cases.

Several other Latin American countries have said they’re interested in importing Cuba’s vaccines. Cuba’s state-run biopharmaceutical sector is respected internationally for its vaccine production.