Cuban Scientists Working on the Design of a COVID-19 Vaccine

March 20, 2020

The Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (CIGB) in Cuba is working on a vaccine that could be used against the new Sars-CoV-2 coronavirus that causes COVID-19.

The director of biomedical research at the CIGB, Gerardo Guillén, said that they are currently working on the methodological and design part of the drug.

The advantage of this vaccine is that it uses the platform developed by the CIGB, where we work with virus-like particles that have a great capacity to stimulate the immune system, said the Cuban researcher.

Another platform, Guillén said, is for immunization through the nasal route, taking into account that Cuba has experience in this delivery because it has a vaccine that has already been registered.

He added that since COVID-19 is a disease that is transmitted through the nose, this platform has advantages for the development of a drug against the new coronavirus.

The scientist detailed the proposal to the Chinese authorities to make the vaccine together with the mixed research and development center, located in the Asian country.

The center is located in the city of Yongzhou, Hunan province, and according to Guillén, as a result of the pandemic, the institution has experience in working with the new viruses, in addition to having laboratories with a high level of secure containment.

The Cuban researcher also referred to the level of mutations of the new coronavirus.

In this sense, he commented that when mutating, the virulence can increase or decrease. He also highlighted the influence of ethnicity, in how different groups can react differently to the disease and to treatments.

Regarding the speculations on how heat can diminish the transmission of the infection, the member of the Cuban Academy of Sciences, said that although some publications affirm that high temperatures may affect the virus, this does not mean that it is eliminated. We must speak with scientific rigor, and we cannot speculate that the climate will prevent the spread of the disease, the specialist said.

For this reason, he reiterated the importance of the contribution and discipline of the population and to observe protocols and isolation measures to contain the transmission of VOC-19.

Official data reports the presence of the disease in more than 146 countries and that there have been more than 7,800 deaths.

According to data provided Wednesday by the Cuban Ministry of Public Health, there are 259 studies on COVID-19 being conducted now on the island, 11 of which have promising results.

Source: Resumen Latinoamericano, translation North America bureau