Cuba conducts clinical trials of nasal Covid-19 vaccine

Havana, Mar 31 (EFE).- Clinical trials of the Mambisa intranasal vaccine against Covid-19 are in progress and the developers will apply “in the coming weeks” for authorization to administer the drug as a booster, Cuban Communist Party daily Granma said Thursday.

Cuba’s Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (CIGB), the creators of Mambisa, says that an intranasal vaccine can be more effective than an injected one because the nose is the principal port of entry for the virus.

Ninety percent of Cuba’s 11.2 million people have been fully vaccinated with CIGB’s three-dose Abdala vaccine or with the Finlay Institute’s Soberana 02/Soberana Plus combination, while 6.2 million Cubans have gotten a booster.

CIGB’s director of biomedical research, Gerardo Guillen Nieto, told Granma that the results of the clinical trials have been encouraging.

He said that among nearly a dozen intranasal vaccine candidates under development worldwide, Mambisa is the only one produced via genetic engineering.

Based on a recombinant protein of 99 percent purity, Mambisa is a “very safe drug,” Guillen Nieto said.

Mambisa’s antigen is the same as the one used in the Abdala vaccine, which was approved last year by Cuba’s CECMED medical safety agency, designated by the World Health Organization (WHO) as a Regional Reference Authority for medicines in the Americas.

Lacking money to buy vaccines on the market and unwilling to rely on Covax, the mechanism set up by the WHO to ensure that vaccines reach developing countries, the Cuban government turned to the island’s internationally respected biopharmaceutical industry.

In the space of months, Cuban scientists identified five vaccine candidates and Abdala was approved by CECMED on July 9, 2021.

None of Cuba’s vaccines has been certified by the WHO, but that hasn’t stopped Havana from sending doses to allies such as Venezuela, Nicaragua, Vietnam and Iran. EFE jpm/dr

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