HAVANA, Cuba, June 22, 2021 - Cuba has announced the effectiveness of its Abdala coronavirus candidate vaccine which it says has shown an "efficacy" of more than 92% percent after three doses, while its other vaccine candidate Soberana 2, the other three-dose shot being developed in Cuba, is said to be 62% percent effective after the first two shots.
On Monday, the BioCubaFarma laboratory tweeted that Abdala—one of the two already in use— "shows an efficacy of 92.28 percent in its three-dose scheme".
The World Health Organization has set a 50-percent efficacy threshold for coronavirus vaccines to offer protection against the virus or disease.
Cuba is working on five coronavirus vaccines, and last month started immunizing its population using two of them yet to complete clinical trials.
Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel welcomed the news as an achievement which "will multiply pride" in the communist island nation.
President of the Republic Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez, on behalf of Cuba, congratulated researchers who in 13 months achieved a global milestone, noting that a three-dose regimen of the Abdala candidate vaccine has demonstrated an efficacy of 92.28 percent, placing it well above the World Health Organization (WHO) requirement of at least 50 percent, to be recognized as an anti-COVID-19 vaccine.
Abdala’s efficacy places it among vaccines with the best results in the world, which have all been produced in the principal laboratories of the most developed countries with financing of hundreds of millions and billions of dollars, something that for Cuba is impossible, even more so given the tightening of the economic, commercial and financial blockade during the pandemic.
Dr. Marta Ayala Avila, CIGB director, explained that efficacy is the most important objective of any vaccine. "It is its effect in real life," she stated.
In presenting the findings, she highlighted the work of the teams of scientists who conducted Phase I/II and III clinical trials in Santiago de Cuba, Bayamo, Guantanamo and Havana, and thanked the 48,000 volunteers who participated in the study.
The final analysis of Abdala's efficacy in preventing symptomatic cases of COVID-19, which was conducted by an independent group led by the Institute of Cybernetics, Mathematics and Physics, showed not only a response to the initial strain of SARS-CoV-2 (DG614G), but also the Alpha, Beta and Gamma mutations, she explained.
Dr. Ayala recalled that the clinical trial included a placebo group and a vaccinated group, with three administrations over a period of 0-14-28 days. She noted that the studies continue, that new evaluations and conclusions will continue to be drawn.
Cuba has been relatively unscathed by the outbreak but has seen a recent sharp increase in cases, registering one of its worst days Monday with 1,561 confirmed infections in 24 hours. To date, it has recorded just over 169,000 cases and 1,170 deaths.
Cuba’s Soberana 2 vaccine candidate has shown 62 percent efficacy with just two of its three doses, state-run biopharmaceutical corporation BioCubaFarma says, citing preliminary data from late phase trials.https://t.co/beWYxc6PLz— Al Arabiya English (@AlArabiya_Eng) June 20, 2021
Under American sanctions, Cuba has a long tradition of making its own vaccines, dating back to the 1980s.
Nearly 80 percent of its vaccines are produced locally and it hopes to come up with the first locally-produced coronavirus shot in Latin America.
The announcement came two days after authorities announced that Soberana 2, the other three-dose shot being developed in Cuba, was 62 percent effective after the first two shots.