The Communist Party of Cuba announced on Tuesday that it had registered the second of two vaccine candidates against the Chinese coronavirus, which would begin its first round of trials “soon” — Havana promised results on the vaccine studies by January 2021.
Cuba is home to one of the world’s most deteriorated healthcare systems after decades of communist rule and heavy investment in its slave doctor system, which rakes in for the regime an estimated $11 billion a year. Cuban officials admitted last year to an increasingly alarming shortage on the island of basic drugs, long before the Chinese coronavirus pandemic swept the world.
The two vaccines, dubbed Soberana [“sovereign”] 01 and Soberana 02, are the latest attempt by the Castro regime to inject itself into the global race to end the pandemic. Cuba’s second-in-command, Miguel Díaz-Canel, claimed at the debut of the first vaccine candidate that its name “evokes the feelings of patriotism and revolutionary and humanistic commitment with which it has been worked on, and also the commitment to the foundational, and when we talk about foundational, we are talking about the Commander-in-Chief [Fidel Castro].”
Cuban government agents, along with allies in socialist dictatorships like Venezuela, have also promoted the use of interferons — anti-viral proteins — to treat the virus, despite no evidence in the free world that the treatment works and warnings from legitimate doctors that improper use of interferons could kill patients.
The Russian news agency TASS revealed on Tuesday that Cuba had announced the launch of Soberana 02. Granma, the official newspaper of the Cuban Communist Party, teased the vaccine candidate last week, claiming it was “unprecedented among all of those being developed to face [Chinese coronavirus] around the world.”
Vicente Vérez Bencomo, the director-general of the Finlay Vaccine Institute in Cuba, told the state propaganda outlet that Soberana 02 would work as a “conjugate vaccine,” a type of immunization mechanism most commonly used against bacterial infectious disease.
“The conjugate vaccines currently know[n] have two distinctive properties: they induce long-term immunity and the antibodies generated not only protect against disease, but they block bacteria from colonizing the oropharynx of the vaccinated,” Vérez said. The doctor added that he expects “similar” results against the Chinese coronavirus despite the fact that it is not a bacterium.
Vérez added at the time that initial trials on Soberana 01 were a success and that patients receiving the vaccine candidate had “very few side effects, all of them light,” calling into question the need for Soberana 02. The initial vaccine remains in Phase One clinical study.
In August, Vérez claimed that he personally received Soberana 01 as part of its study, as well as two other members of the Finlay institute.
The Castro regime occasionally declares itself the source of a miracle vaccine; last year, it claimed to have produced a vaccine against lung cancer. Yet, it imports many doses of basic vaccines necessary to maintain a functional healthcare system, sometimes raising health concerns at home. Last year, Cuban doctors killed a one-year-old girl, Paloma Domínguez Caballero, by giving her a standard Measles, Mumps, and Rubella (MMR) vaccine at her 12-month well visit. Shortly after her death, reports revealed that Cuba was importing its MMR vaccines from an Indian company linked to the deaths of three children via faulty vaccines in Cuba in 2002. The Castro regime did not, apparently, change sourcing for vaccines after the deaths.
At the time of Domínguez’s death, reports from Cuba suggested that several other children — the number varied in reports from four to eight — also experienced extreme adverse effects from the MMR vaccine offered at the same clinic where staffers killed Domínguez. After Domínguez’s mother began using social media to attract attention to her case with success, the Communist Party attempted to intimidate her into silence, resulting in both of the child’s parents fleeing the country just a month later. Cuban authorities did not update on the status of the other children, nor did any other parents surface with complaints.
Regarding the Chinese coronavirus pandemic in particular, doctors have warned that the Communist Party’s claims that interferons cure coronavirus may seriously hurt patients.
“When the Government of Cuba assures that the Interferon developed in Cuba cures the coronavirus, it is committing a serious crime against world public health, since this drug not only lacks any scientific proof, but also where it has been tested has already given null results of encouragement,” a group of doctors said in a letter published by the NGO Cuban Prisoners Defenders in April.
“Cuba should receive a formal warning from the authorities of the World Health Organization for publicizing a media hoax about which there is no evidence, but quite the contrary, and whose consequences may be harmful to the lives of thousands of patients worldwide,” the doctors concluded.
Cuba’s alleged vaccine candidate is competing with 43 other vaccine candidates currently in clinical trials and dozens of others identified as being in a “pre-clinical” stage, according to the World Health Organization (W.H.O.) master list. China dominates the list of vaccine candidates, though the list includes a variety of other nations such as the United States, Japan, Germany, and Kazakhstan.