Cuban Health Specialists arriving in South Africa to curb the spread of COVID-19
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By US-Cuba Normalization Committee JAN 10, 2021 "An exporting country of solidarity, not war"
By Cuban Fuente
The Italian Fabrizio Chiodo is a professor of Chemistry at the University of Havana and heads the list of foreign collaborators participating in the development of two vaccines against COVID-19 at the Finlay Institute of Cuba: Soberana 1 and Soberana 2.
"The trust of the people is a fundamental pillar of the Cuban response to the epidemic," Chiodo explained in an interview with Sputnik in which he evaluated why the skepticism towards vaccines that reigns in much of the world does not make a dent in Cuba.
- At what stage are the vaccines developed by Cuba?
- Cuba currently has four candidate vaccines in clinical trials, that is, in the testing phase in volunteers. I work on two Finlay Institute candidates: Sovereign 1 and Sovereign 2.
The first is completing a combination of phases one and two, while the second is completing the first phase. Instead, the other two candidates from the Cuban Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology are completing phase one. This should not worry us because we plan to conclude phase three of Sovereign in March 2021.
- In phase three, how many volunteers will be employed?
- We believe that at least 50,000 people, but it is a number that we are still discussing since we are facing a technical problem because in Cuba there is a very low incidence of SARS-CoV-2 infections. Therefore, part of the clinical trials may be carried out abroad.
- How will the clinical tests be carried out?
- Exactly as in the other countries, subdividing the volunteers into a control group, who will be given a placebo, and another group will receive the vaccine. The difference is that in many countries, volunteers receive compensation. In Cuba, they are offered spontaneously because there is widespread confidence in medicine and science.
- Cuba is blockaded and this causes shortages of supplies and resources. Has the Cuban research received any help or subsidies from international humanitarian and philanthropic organizations?
- The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has allocated hundreds of millions of euros to fight COVID-19, but at the moment not a penny has been allocated to Cuba. The Gates Foundation is based in the United States and considers Cuba a terrorist country, just like those who collaborate with Cuba, like me.
Similarly, organizations such as Amnesty or Doctors without Borders are ignoring the Cuban investigation, probably because they fear repercussions from Washington.
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