Despite US Pressure, Iran and Cuba to Produce Vaccines Together as Cuba Rolls out its Fourth Covid-19 Vaccine Candidate

December 5, 2020

The Iranian Minister of Health, Said Namaki, and the Cuban Ambassador in Iran, Alexis Bandrich Vega, held a meeting this Wednesday in Teheran, the Iranian capital. Besides underlining the two countries’ trajectory in joint projects in the health sector, they have advocated further increased cooperation in the field including a current project that is already producing a vaccine against a bacterium that causes various infections.

“We have a long tradition of cooperation and, despite the pressures from the U.S. and the Zionists, that tradition remains strong. I had the honor of meeting a Cuban biologist for the first time three decades ago and inviting him to the Pasteur Institute to work together in a variety of fields.”

Minister Namaki went on to highlight the vaccine’s joint production against hepatitis B by Teheran and Havana and the vaccine against pneumococcus. This bacterium causes both mild and severe infections such as pneumonia. He went on to point out that  Iran is “one of the leading countries in the production of raw materials in various fields, such as petrochemical and pharmaceutical, and we are willing to strengthen our cooperation with Cuba in all fields, including the fight against the new coronavirus, the cause of COVID-19.

Further, he considered that the policy of sanctions and restrictions by the U.S. and its allies has connected Iran and Cuba in a greater way. “These pressures have created a common language and joint cooperation between Iran and Cuba,” he added.

Meanwhile, the Cuban Ambassador Vega denounced that U.S. sanctions have caused “genocide and damage” in several parts of the world.  “The Americans made every effort to impose brutal sanctions; however, Iran and Cuba did not back down,” adding that his talks with Namaki were positive and productive.

The Cuban diplomat also condemned the assassination of the Iranian nuclear scientist Mohsen Fajrizade and has emphasized that the island rejects terrorism, in any form, and “demands respect for the independence of all countries.”

Meanwhile on December 2 in Santiago de Cuba clinical trials began on Cuba’s latest Covid-19 vaccine candidate, C. The latest vaccine was developed by the Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (CIGB) of Cuba, an institution that is dedicated to the research, development, production and commercialization of products of this branch. The initial phase of the clinical study will run until February 16, 2021 and has 200 volunteers and involves more than 40 health professionals, including doctors, nurses and laboratory workers.

The trial will be centered at the Saturnino Lora Hospital, in Santiago de Cuba, with the aim of testing the effectiveness, efficacy and immunogenicity of Abdala (CIGB-66). As part of the preparatory process, all adult subjects, healthy or with controlled chronic diseases, were rigorously evaluated in advance, according to Liudmila Risset Castro, head of the Department of Teaching and Research at the CIGB.

So far, Cuba has four Covid-19 vaccine candidates: Soberana 01, Soberana 02, Abadala and Mambisa.

Source: teleSUR