Havana, Cuba. Details on the progress achieved in the research process of Cuban vaccine candidates against COVID-19 are given this Friday in the program of the Round Table.
The President of BIOCUBAFARMA Business Group, Eduardo Martinez, highlighted that Cuba has a great experience in the development and production of vaccines and argued that our biopharmaceutical industry produces EIGHT of those used in the National Immunization Program.
He underlined that having sovereignty in the production of vaccines has allowed the country to reach nearly one hundred percent immunization coverage, one of the highest levels in the world.
At the Round Table, the President of Biocubafarma added that this has made it possible to eliminate a group of diseases over the years and significantly reduce the incidence of others.
Extensive experience in vaccine development
BioCubaFarma’s President, Eduardo Martinez, expressed in the Round Table that it is not a coincidence that Cuba was the first country in Latin America to have a COVID-19 vaccine candidate in the clinical trial phase.
He argued that the antimeningococcal vaccine VA-MENGOC-BC® was the first of its kind to be achieved at world level, a project led by Dr. Concepción Campa together with other experts, which managed to reduce significantly the incidence of meningitis in Cuba.
Martinez also mentioned the vaccine against hepatitis B, project led by Luis Herrera and other researchers, which was the first one in Latin America to obtain the certification of the World Health Organization.
He highlighted that since 2001, children under five years old are infected with that disease in Cuba, which may become one of the first countries to eradicate it completely.
Four Cuban vaccine candidates
BioCubaFarma’s President, Eduardo Martinez, stated at the Round Table that Cuba currently has four vaccination candidates against COVID-19.
He pointed out that from the beginning they never limited any idea to researchers and they have been advancing in those with better results.
The general director of the Finlay Institute of Vaccines, Vicente Vérez Bencomo, highlighted that Soberana’s team has been growing and it is formed by dozens of researchers from many institutions, which, he said, is a great commitment.
He explained the three great groups of vaccines that exist in the world and highlighted that in Soberana’s case the challenge is to manage to induce the level of antibody with the quality of antibodies that manage to avoid or neutralize the virus.
Why Sovereign 01 and Sovereign 02?
When explaining why two Sovereigns, the general director of the Finlay Institute of Vaccines, Vicente Vérez, emphasized that they decided as a strategy to diversify the alternatives to be able to overcome in an efficient and clear way the main challenge: to achieve the appropriate immune response.
He pointed out that in the clinical trials, Soberana 01 has shown high safety and no significant adverse effect, with the five formulas put in more than one hundred people.
Vérez said that the results of the second dose need to be concluded, in order to decide which of the five formulas is the one that induces the best immune response, before moving on to a phase two.
He pointed out that in this path, Soberana 01 must be going through this month and December, and before the year ends, those data must be clear and the decision to move to phase two clinical trials must be made.
When referring to Soberana 02, the General Director of the Finlay Institute of Vaccines, Vicente Vérez specified that it is a conjugated vaccine, where the virus antigen and the tetanus toxoid are combined, which has multiple advantages.
In the Round Table, the expert clarified that two formulas were generated from Soberada 02, and one of them, in the study on immunity in animals, caused a powerful immune response from the first week of the first dose and “this is a very important result”.
Vérez referred that the results in preclinical are of such magnitude that they would justify starting a phase of Two A trials, that is, with more people than in phase one, to confirm those results in a faster way.
“The good news is that since we expect a response in the first dose after two weeks, the cycles in decision making could be shortened,” said the expert.
The General Director of the Finlay Institute of Vaccines, Vicente Vérez, reiterated in the Round Table the commitment that in the first semester of next year an important part of the Cuban population will be vaccinated against COVID-19.
The General Director of the Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology, CIGB, Eulogio Pimentel, highlighted that this institution has two vaccine candidates ready, whose application files for authorization to start clinical trials have already been submitted to the regulatory authority.
He said that the first one is CIGB 669, which essentially explores the intranasal administration way and seeks to activate a group of antibodies to guarantee a systemic response of the organism.
Pimentel referred that the second vaccine candidate against SARS-COV- Two is the CIGB 66 and its administration route is intramuscular.