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

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

Cuba has not imported COVID-19 vaccines because the island’s economy is in tatters. So it’s producing its own. Officials say two Cuban vaccines look particularly promising.

This week Cuba says one of the COVID-19 vaccines it’s developing – called Abdala – is 92 percent effective after its three doses. It also says another homegrown vaccine – Soberana Dos – is 62 percent effective after two of its three doses.

That seems to be a 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.”

And not a moment too soon.

Cash-strapped Cuba has not sought vaccines elsewhere – not even from the international COVAX project for poorer countries. The domestic doses it’s administered so far have fully vaccinated less than a tenth of the population.

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.

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