Cuba’s new Covid-19 vaccine finds proving ground in Venezuela
Cuba says it has developed a vaccine against Covid-19 that its ally, Venezuela, has started administering despite warnings from regional health authorities and Venezuelan doctors that they have seen no evidence of the efficacy or safety of the drug. shoot.
Cuban doctors working in Venezuela apply the three-dose vaccine called Abdala, 10,000 people having received the first vaccine in recent days at a military base in Caracas, the first batch of a 12 million-dose contract signed between the two nations .
Abdala, named after a poem by Cuban independence-era hero José Martí, has a 92% effectiveness rate against Covid-19, with each of the three injections given 14 days apart, according to Cuban authorities. But its experimental data has not been published in scientific journals, and it is not on the World Health Organization’s list of vaccines approved for emergency use in the fight against the coronavirus. This has led health experts in Venezuela to denounce its use, which they say is shrouded in secrecy.
What little is known about Abdala comes from festive public comments made by Cuban officials to state media in recent months. Phase 3 trials ended in April and the Department of Public Health said more than one million of the island’s 11 million people received a dose.
On state media, the Cuban government dismissed criticism of its local shooting. The country has extensive experience in vaccine development: its meningitis and hepatitis B vaccines are exported to developing countries in Latin America and elsewhere. The state-run health system has been an emblem of its communist government and a vital revenue generator. The island is grappling with a steady rise in Covid-19 infections and a sharp economic contraction caused by a drop in tourist arrivals.