Phnom Penh (FN), Aug. 24 – Cuba’s Finlay Vaccine Institute, a centre for vaccine research and production, has been authorised to begin clinical trials of new vaccine in collaboration with Ministry of Public Health, Cuban Ambassador to Cambodia Liurka Rodríguez Barrios told Fresh News on Monday.

On 28 July 2020, Cuba’s candidate vaccine was tested for the first time on human volunteers, precisely three researchers participating in its development. An initial evaluation revealed a strong immune response in all three.

The central state enterprise management group BioCubaFarma reports having received permission to begin clinical trials of a Cuban candidate vaccine to prevent Covid-19, capable of producing a strong immune reaction to a SARS-COV-2 infection.

The vaccine project FINLAY-FR-1 is led by the Finlay Vaccine Institute and the Center for Molecular Immunology, both affiliated with BioCubaFarma, with the collaboration of the University of Havana’s Chemical and Biomolecular Synthesis Laboratory.

The above institutions have satisfactorily concluded the drug’s development stage and pre-clinical studies in animals, producing the scientific findings to be authorised by Cuba’s Center for State Control of Medications, Medical Equipment and Devices (CECMED) in order to conduct clinical trials.

The announcement explained that this license allows for joint work with different institutions affiliated with the Ministry of Public Health to begin at this time, initiating “the clinical trial phase I-II, known as Sovereign, which will be followed by other clinical studies before the vaccine is considered ready for use.”

BioCubaFarma also reported that an industrial production strategy is being developed to build capacity with the goal of “having available the millions of doses needed to protect our population,” once the studies are concluded.

Also of special interest is that Cuba’s candidate vaccine is the 30th – the first in Latin America and the Caribbean – to receive authorisation for clinical trials among over 200 under development initiatives around the world.

The Finlay Vaccine Institute has more than 30 years of experience in developing vaccines.

“The fact that the Institute has other platforms developed for other epidemics, especially the meningitis epidemic in the 1980s, allowed these important results to be obtained,” according to the Institute’s announcement.

BioCubaFarma, the leading enterprise group in Cuba’s biotechnology and pharmaceutical industry, described the progress made in the urgent effort to develop a vaccine here as a tribute to Comandante en Jefe Fidel Castro Ruz, visionary founder and promoter of the sector.

BioCubaFarma takes pride in the results achieved and calls on the entire population to maintain rigorous implementation of preventative measures to contain the epidemic, as the country draws closer to producing her own vaccine.

“These have been weeks of intense work and self-sacrifice, very tense days, during which we have counted on the intelligence and commitment of our scientific community that has as its priority in protecting health and saving lives. We assure the people that there will be no rest until every Cuban is protected from this terrible disease with a vaccine. However, at this time, it is important to continue adhering to the hygienic-sanitary precautions established by the Ministry of Public Health to confront Covid-19,” according to BioCubaFarma’s statement.