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Sep 18, 2021 / 17:41

Vietnam approves Cuban Covid-19 vaccine

Vietnam approves Cuba’s homegrown vaccine ahead of the four-day visit to Havana starting September 18 paid by Vietnamese President Nguyen Xuan Phuc.

Cuban-made Abdala vaccine becomes the 8th Covid-19 vaccine approved in Vietnam, after AstraZeneca, Sputnik V, Johnson & Johnson/Janssen, Moderna/Spikevax, Pfizer/Comirnaty, Vero Cell/Sinopharm, and Hayat-Vax.

 Abdala Covid-19 vaccine. Photo: Twitter@dpsCiego

Abdala, with the technical name of CIGB-66, is a protein subunit vaccine containing Covid-derived proteins that trigger an immune response, developed by the Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (CIGB) in Cuba.

This vaccine is among two Cuba-developed Covid-19 vaccines, which have passed Phase 3 trials and received emergency authorization.

On June 22, 2021, Cuba announced Abdala, which involved more than 48,000 volunteers administered in 3 doses spaced 2 weeks apart, had a 92.28% efficacy rate at preventing symptomatic Covid-19.

Abdala has been rolled out in the government’s vaccination campaign since March.

On July 9, Cuba gave emergency approval to Abdala, making it the first Latin American country to develop a Covid-19 vaccine.

Jose Moya, a representative in Cuba of PAHO (Pan American Health Organization), a regional organization of the World Health Organization (WHO) with 27 country offices, said he trusted the Cuban figures.

“The CIGB Research Institute has 30 years of experience in vaccine research. I trust the results that have been published. These are serious studies, with the participation of researchers and institutions committed to science," the DW cited Moya.

He was not surprised by the high efficacy of Abdala, saying it was simply the logical consequence of a health care system that had been performing steadily well for decades. “Already, the results published by the scientists beforehand showed a good response in terms of antibody production,” he said.

For Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel, the country’s drive to pursue homegrown solutions rather than importing foreign vaccines is a triumph of Cuba’s biotech industry.

Regarding the supply to Vietnam, Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel said it would supply 10 million Abdala vaccine doses to Vietnam through the end of 2021. He made the commitment in the phone talk on August 23 with Vietnamese President Nguyen Xuan Phuc, the Vietnam Television (VTV) reported.

Díaz-Canel also expressed that Cuba is willing to send experts to Vietnam for the technology transfer in the production of the Abdala vaccine.