|Technician Heydi Contreras works at the vaccine production plant of the Finlay Institute in Havana, on January 20, 2021. (File photo by= Yamil Lage/AFP/Getty Images)|
[Asia News Communication = Reporter Reakkana] Cuba might be on the verge of a coronavirus vaccine breakthrough and not a moment too soon, as deaths and cases increase on the communist-run island. CNN said that starting in March, two of the island's four local vaccine candidates will begin their third and final trials, the Cuban government has announced.
Two of the vaccines are named Soberana -- Spanish for sovereignty. The remaining two are called Abdala, the name of a poem written by Cuban revolutionary icon Jose Marti, and Mambisa, referring to Cuban guerillas who fought a bloody war for freedom against the Spanish. Cuban scientists will start the final trials for their Soberana-02 and Abdala vaccines this month. In most of 2020, Cuba contained the spread of the pandemic but a bungled reopening to international travelers in December led to a surge in cases.
Cuban scientists say they expect their vaccines to be a game-changer -- not just against the rising Covid numbers but also for the disastrous impacts of the pandemic on their economy. Abroad, Iran has already begun widespread trials of Soberana-02 and Mexico is in talks with Cuba to begin trials soon. Suriname and Ghana are reportedly interested in buying Cuban vaccines when the drugs are ready.