Cuba Claims Its Homemade Coronavirus Vaccine Better than China’s Sinovac

Nurse Xiomara Rodriguez shows a vial of the Cuban Soberana 2 vaccine candidate to be administered to a volunteer during its trial Phase III in Havana, on March 31, 2021. (Photo by Joaquin Hernandez / AFP) (Photo by JOAQUIN HERNANDEZ/AFP via Getty Images)
JOAQUIN HERNANDEZ/AFP via Getty Images

The Communist Party of Cuba celebrated on Sunday the culmination of clinical trials allegedly showing that “Soberana 02,” one of four Chinese coronavirus vaccine candidates developed in the country, is 62-percent effective.

If true, the Cuban Finlay Institute’s claim would make “Soberana 02” more effective than “Coronavac,” the coronavirus vaccine candidate developed by China’s Sinovac Biotech. Dictator Xi Jinping has launched a global campaign to sell “Coronavac” to as many nations as possible despite its poor 50.38-percent efficacy rate; countries that have relied mainly on Coronavac in their vaccination campaigns have experienced significant surges in coronavirus cases alongside growing vaccination rates.

The World Health Organization (W.H.O.) lists Coronavac among the experimental vaccines it considers “have met the necessary criteria for safety and efficacy.” The minimum efficacy threshold a vaccine candidate must meet for this approval is 50 percent.

Cuba claims to be developing at least four coronavirus vaccine candidates: Soberana 01 and 02, Abdalá, and Mambisa. Soberana 02 is the furthest along, the official newspaper of the Communist Party Granma claimed on Sunday, having finished Phase III clinical trials on Sunday, according to Finlay Institute scientists. The product began Phase III trials in March and the results revealed this weekend are considered preliminary.

Vicente Vérez Bencomo, the director of the Finlay Institute, told Granma that Soberana 02 reaches 62-percent efficacy after administering two doses. Bencomo did not specify if the efficacy rating was against all infections or against only symptomatic infections, as other institutes around the world have used as a metric. He also stated that the efficacy rating counts against “a combination of variants circulating in Havana at this moment,” without elaborating – meaning the number could be an average of its efficacy against different variants as well as the original strain of the virus.

Cuba is seeking W.H.O. approval for its product, as Soberana 02 allegedly tested at over 50-percent efficacy.

According to Nature, Soberana 02 is “a ‘conjugate’ vaccine, one that links a weaker antigen with a stronger one to ensure a vigorous immune response.”

“To make Soberana 02, Finlay scientists coupled fragments of the coronavirus spike protein to a deactivated form of tetanus toxin, a powerful antigen that can boost production of immune cells and antibodies,” the magazine explains.

In contrast, the world’s most effective vaccines – from American firms Pfizer and Moderna – use messenger RNA to send signals to the immune system using a “spike protein.” The use of mRNA technology in vaccination is unprecedented prior to the approval of these products. Sinovac’s vaccine candidate, in contrast, uses inactivated Chinese coronavirus cells, a more traditional approach to vaccination.

The Cuban Communist Party has not waited for safety approvals to begin mass distributing its homegrown experimental vaccination products. As of Friday, the regime claims it has administered upwards of 4 million doses of both Soberana 02 and Abdalá nationwide, including to patients deemed especially vulnerable to severe coronavirus infections. Cuban doctors began administering doses to children as young as 12 years old in Phase I experimental trials for the Soberana vaccines last week, according to Granma.

The Cuban Communist Party uses its medical industry for profit, selling doctors as slave labor to many developing countries in Latin America, Africa, and Asia. Cuba is believed to make about $11 billion selling slave doctors on an annual basis, surpassing the profits of its military-controlled tourism industry. The Party began to sell Soberana 02 long before clinical trials concluded. In March, the allied Islamic dictatorship in Iran – which has also claimed to be developing a dubious coronavirus immunization product – reportedly received 100,000 doses of Cuban coronavirus vaccine candidates, some for use in clinical trials; Cuba, in turn, agreed to host clinical trials for Iranian experimental vaccines.

Raúl Castro’s second-in-command, Cuban “president” Miguel Díaz-Canel, expressed his intent to sell Cuban vaccine candidates to nations without the money to purchase the superior American products in celebrating the Finlay Institute on Sunday.

“I am sure that the vaccine that the poor people of the world will have access to is ours, and that has to do with the millions of commitments that you have defended, with millions of principles that the Revolution has forged, and that you have also forged,” Díaz-Canel told the scientists, according to Granma, “and represent millions of joys for the Cuban people.”

The vaccine candidate, he claimed, “once again confirms the visionary thought of Fidel [Castro] and the scientific capacity created by the Revolution.” Fidel Castro died in 2016, according to the regime, about three years before the first documented cases of Chinese coronavirus infections in humans. No evidence exists linking Fidel Castro to the development of a vaccine against a virus that had not yet infected humans at the time of his death.

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