At the beginning of March, Cuba will ask the World Health Organization (WHO) to “pre-qualify” its Abdala anti-covid vaccine, so that it has international recognition, a senior director of the island’s biotechnology industry said on Tuesday (15).
“We anticipate that in the first weeks, that is, in early March, within two or three weeks we will already be sending the dossier to the WHO”, said Eduardo Martínez Díaz, director of BioCubaFarma, manufacturer of the immunizer.
Cuba manufactures and applies five vaccines and vaccine candidates against covid-19, but the drugs Abdala and Soberana are the ones that have had the greatest use at the national level and also in other countries, such as Venezuela, Nicaragua and Vietnam.
Martínez explained that his company informed the WHO that the vaccine production site would be transferred from the current plants to a new complex built in Mariel, located 50 km west of Havana and inaugurated in December.
“[A OMS] replied that yes, that we would send the dossier and that, when the plant was already in operation, they would carry out the inspection to grant the pre-qualification”, he added.
The director believes that immunizers will be recognized “without any kind of problem”, as they “proved to be very safe” after being administered to 88% of the population, controlling the pandemic and the number of deaths.
Cuba has a total of 1,062,154 Cubans infected in the pandemic, with 8,476 deaths to date, according to the Ministry of Health.
Martínez said that the first tests at the Mariel Complex met “quality parameters”, but admitted that there were funding and input problems throughout the Cuban pharmaceutical industry.
“We managed to export vaccines and a group of medicines at the end of last year and we are having difficulties in receiving them with the banks’ refusal to work with us”, due to the US embargo.
According to the director, this situation deprived the company of obtaining financing to honor the payment of raw materials, which adds to the problems of international trade caused by the pandemic.
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