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 week, Assistant Director Dr. Jarbas Barbosa said information received indicated the vaccine’s development will shortly enter the third and final stage of clinical trials.
He cautioned, however, that no timeline could be determined for the completion of the process, “as the [third] phase takes the longest.”
The Cuba vaccine producer joins several others, whose candidates are at various stages of development and analysis.
Among them are the Moderna vaccine, which Dr. 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.”
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 [COVID-19 Vaccine Global Access] facility,” the assistant PAHO director said.
The WHO COVAX facility is designed to accelerate equitable access by countries, globally, to appropriate, safe and efficacious vaccines.
Dr Barbosa said 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].”