With Abdala, Cuba takes another step toward broad scale vaccination
The administration of a third dose of candidate vaccine Abdala, as part of phase III clinical trials, has been completed and efficacy studies begin
Party First Secretary and President of the Republic Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez highlighted the completed administration of a third and final dose of candidate vaccine Abdala (CIGB-66), as part of phase III clinical trials in Santiago de Cuba, Guantánamo and Bayamo, which began March 22.
“Our candidate vaccine Abdala is approaching the goal… 48,290 volunteers have received three doses, with very few adverse side effects. We are advancing with firm steps toward vaccination of the entire country,” he tweeted.
According to experts with the state enterprise group BioCubaFarma, adherence to the protocol was over 97%, reflecting an adequate safety level for CIGB-66 and the commitment to the investigation of the majority of volunteers selected.
Referring to the vaccine’s efficacy, PhD Verena Muzio, director of the clinical research at the CIGB, reported that the evaluation has begun of this variable, the principal interest of the trials, on the basis of ongoing observation of subjects, to detect those who develop SARS-COV-2 infections and exhibit symptoms.
She clarified that the date when findings are published regarding the vaccine’s effectiveness cannot be pre-determined, since this depends on how quickly positive cases of COVID-19 emerge following administration of the third dose.
With respect to studies of Abdala in the pediatric population, Dr. Muzio stated that researchers are in the final stages of designing clinical trials for the 18 and under age group, which will be submitted for approval to the State Center for Control of Medications, Medical Equipment and Devices (Cecmed), and should begin within a short period of time.
Production of the Abdala candidate vaccine is being undertaken by AICA Laboratories, in Havana.
April leaves record numbers of infections and deaths
Between January and April this year, far from decreasing, the nation’s monthly average of new cases and, even sadder, that of patient deaths as a result of COVID-19, increased dramatically.
Dr. Francisco Durán García, nation director of Epidemiology at the Ministry of Public Health (Minsap), reported during a press conference that in the fourth month of the year, 31,346 infections were reported, 5,660 more than in March, with an average of 1,044 new cases a day, more than 1000 on the majority of days
In April, with 229 deaths as a result of complications associated with the illness, COVID-19 lethality and mortality rates increased significantly, reaching double the previous record, established in February with 108 deaths.
During the month, 4,449 children, adolescents and youth, 18 years of age and under, were treated for SARS-COV-2 infections, with an average of 148 new cases a day in this age group, a figure that speaks to the extraordinary importance of strictly adhering to precautionary measures and social distancing.