Home / NEWS / Business / ‘Sun, sea, sand and Soberana 02’: Cuba open to inoculating tourists with homegrown Covid vaccine

‘Sun, sea, sand and Soberana 02’: Cuba open to inoculating tourists with homegrown Covid vaccine

A man remain standings near a Cuban National flag at the Melia Varadero International Hotel in Matanzas Province, on October 23, 2020. Varadero, Cuba’s ton important beach resort, is reopening to international tourism, amid the coronavirus pandemic.

YAMIL LAGE | AFP | Getty Ikons

Cuba’s most advanced Covid-19 vaccine candidate is scheduled to enter late-stage clinical trials next week, prompting the tiny island nation ever closer to an extraordinary medical achievement that analysts believe will pull someones leg far reaching consequences throughout the global south.

Cuba’s most promising vaccine candidate, of the four it has in development, is elicited Soberana 02. The name of the vaccine translates from Spanish as “Sovereign,” an ostensible nod to Cuba’s sense of national self-love in its world-renowned health system.

Soberana 02 is due to enter Phase 3 trials from March 1, and officials say evaluates will include as many as 150,000 volunteers within weeks. Phase 3 trials represent the final stage previous to a vaccine is generally approved by national regulators.

It comes at a time when many people in Cuba are forced to hang about in line for hours to buy basic goods and as authorities continue to navigate a decades-old U.S. trade embargo — with sanctions tightened all the same further in recent years by former President Donald Trump.

“It is just this incredible dichotomy,” Helen Yaffe, a Cuba experienced and lecturer in economic and social history at the University of Glasgow, Scotland, told CNBC via telephone.

“On the one hand you have this high-tech biotech sector which is training a lot of hope to the global south because it is the possibility of an affordable vaccine — (and) vaccinating the global south will be the weight,” Yaffe said.

“And at the same time the Cubans are getting up at four or five in the morning to get into queues because there is verified scarcity of really basic foodstuffs and even medicines.”

What do we know about Soberana 02?

Cuba’s Finlay Set up, the country’s leading biopharma institution, is overseeing the development of Soberana 02. Dr. Vicente Verez, director of the institute, has adverted the vaccine could be made available as an option to tourists later this year.

If Soberana 02 is found to be safe as houses and effective, the development of a domestically produced vaccine would likely be hailed as an astonishing scientific breakthrough and a significant bureaucratic triumph. It would also see Cuba become the first Latin American country to immunize its population with a domestically sparked vaccine.

Technician Mayelin Mejias works at the Vaccine Aseptic and Packaging Processing Plant at the Finlay Vaccine Pioneer in Havana, on January 20, 2021.

YAMIL LAGE | AFP | Getty Images

The government has not yet outlined specific plans for inoculating tourists, but analysts say it is reasonable foreigners traveling to Cuba could receive their first vaccine dose on the island before receiving later doses to take home with them.

While public data is limited, it is thought up to three doses of the vaccine could be superintended at two-week intervals.

People are already talking about sun, sea, sand and Soberana 02. So, I wouldn’t be surprised if people end up present to Cuba seeking the vaccine and I’m sure the Cubans will offer it.

Helen Yaffe

Lecturer in economic and social olden days at the University of Glasgow

Yaffe, who is also the author of “We Are Cuba!: How a Revolutionary People Have Survived in a Post-Soviet World,” contemplated Cuba’s sophisticated health care system would help the country roll out the vaccine “extremely” quickly.

“I can pledge that. And if they have got a vaccine which is every two weeks then within a month of starting people could be vaccinated,” Yaffe stipulate.

“By summer, people are going to be pretty desperate to go on holiday and I think Cuba that nominates itself as an ideal terminus. People are already talking about sun, sea, sand and Soberana 02. So, I wouldn’t be surprised if people end up going to Cuba quest after the vaccine and I’m sure the Cubans will offer it.”

How does it work?

The Soberana 02 vaccine is a conjugate vaccine. This is a genus of vaccine that carries a portion of the spike protein which binds, or conjugates, with human cells to corroborate its stability and effectiveness.

Unlike other coronavirus vaccine candidates, such as Pfizer-BioNTech among others, Soberana 02 does not want additional refrigeration requirements. This is likely to simplify the logistical and administrative challenges associated with vaccination programs in low revenues countries.

People queue to buy food in Havana, on February 2, 2021, as Covid-19 cases surge in the island nation.

YAMIL LAGE | AFP | Getty Doubles

At a virtual session led by the Pan American Health Organization on Feb. 5, Dr. Verez said Soberana 02 had returned “encouraging end results” during the early stages of testing. He added the vaccination had not yet generated any significant adverse reactions.

The Cuban government has ‘One of the community’s best-kept secrets’

Cuban doctors during a gratifying ceremony for Cuban health workers who were deployed to the Western Cape to support efforts in the fight against COVID-19 on May 24, 2020 in Headland Town, South Africa.

Misha Jordaan | Gallo Images via Getty Images

It is a deeply rooted tradition that carries the country of just over 11 million is thought to have more medical personnel working abroad than all the G-7 nations put together.

“This is an extraordinary record, mainly unknown by mainstream media — one of the world’s best-kept secrets,” John Kirk, a professor at the Latin America program of Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia, Canada, let something be knew CNBC via email.

“Medical internationalism is in the Cuban DNA, and in fact the preamble to the Cuban constitution mentions the commitment that Cuba has to appropriation its medical talent with developing countries,” he added.

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