Sat | Sep 25, 2021

Work advancing on COVID-19 vaccine in Cuba

Published:Sunday | February 28, 2021 | 10:03 AMJamaica Information Service
Dr Jarbas Barbosa, assistant director, Pan American Health Organization (PAHO/ WHO photo via JIS).

The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) says work is advanced on the development of a COVID-19 vaccine in Cuba.

Speaking during PAHO’s COVID-19 digital briefing last Wednesday, PAHO's assistant director, Dr Jarbas Barbosa, said information received indicates that the vaccine’s development will shortly enter the third and final stage of clinical trials.

He cautioned, however, that no time line could be determined for the completion of the process, “as the [third] phase takes the longest.”

The Cuban vaccine producer joins several others, whose candidates are at various stages of development and analysis.

Among them are: the Moderna vaccine, which Barbosa indicated is in the final stages of analysis; the Sinopharm vaccine, for which the producer has requested evaluation; and the Johnson & Johnson vaccine which, he pointed out, is “also being assessed.”

Johnson & Johnson, yesterday, received clearance by the US Food and Drug Administration.

The Pfizer vaccine and both AstraZeneca vaccines, which are produced in India and South Korea, are the candidates already approved by the World Health Organization (WHO).

Dr Barbosa said it is imperative for PAHO member countries to be involved in the development and production of vaccines, medicines and other inputs that can potentially control the pandemic across the region, and beyond.

“It is very important to have many producers so that they can provide the vaccines that the countries need. We believe that the more vaccines [that] can be developed, the better it will be to achieve this and for them to participate in the COVAX Facility,” the Assistant Director further argued.

The WHO COVID-19 Vaccine Global Access (COVAX) Facility is designed to accelerate equitable access by countries globally to appropriate, safe and efficacious vaccines.

Dr Barbosa said that while all vaccine producers are welcome to join the facility, “they all need to comply with the certification criteria as well as safety and efficacy [protocols]."

Follow The Gleaner on Twitter and Instagram @JamaicaGleaner and on Facebook @GleanerJamaica. Send us a message on WhatsApp at 1-876-499-0169 or email us @onlinefeedback@gleanerjm.com or editors@gleanerjm.com.