“President Biden said on July 15 that his government was prepared to donate vaccines to Cuba if it was assured that an international organization would administer them in a way that would reach the average citizen. What we want to ask ourselves here is whether this is true, and also place it in the context of the blockade phenomenon “, reflected Doctor Agustín Lage Dávila, advisor to the president of BioCubaFarma and former director of the Center for Molecular Immunology (CIM).
“The Act for the Democracy of Cuba in its title 22 says that exports of medicines and medical supplies should not be restricted, which we know has not been the case, and we have many examples of restrictions on exports to Cuba of medical equipment and medical supplies. This document in point four says: ׳ except in the case that the element to be exported can be used in the production of any biotechnological productʹ; and of course this includes vaccines. In other words, the supply to Cuba of products that can be used to make vaccines is explicitly prohibited in a legal document of the United States Government.
President Joe Biden has the thesis that “an international body is needed to guarantee the Cuban people’s access to vaccines,” added Dr. Lage Dávila.
We can – he said – stop at some data, all from public databases and easily verifiable.
Vaccination coverage in Cuba with which prophylaxis is used in childhood is above 99%. It can be checked in the UNICEF database. All Cubans are protected by vaccines against 13 diseases, and eight of them are manufactured in Cuba, he explained.
As a simple example the prominent scientist mentioned that There has not been a single case of measles in Cuba since 1993. “In 2019, the United States reported 1,292 cases. Meningitis B, the epidemic of the 1980s, was stopped with an innovative Cuban vaccine. We have had international collaborative actions to vaccinate in other countries, specifically in the meningitis belt in Africa. The Cuban collaboration worked there requested by the World Health Organization. And there is a report, of the many that there are, that places Cuba in number 30 of the healthiest countries in the world, including the richest countries, “he said.
Lage Dávila pointed out that These eight vaccines are manufactured by Biocubafarma, “A set of 32 companies containing 61 production lines. An organization with more than 20,000 employees, including 546 PhDs of Science, and 219 Master of Science degrees. That is the device that manufactures Cuban biotechnological products; which has been inspected by many regulatory agencies in Cuba and other countries, including highly developed countries, a device that has also been certified for its good production practices. It should be added that the Cuban regulatory body is recognized by the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), and is one of the few regulatory bodies recognized by PAHO, ”he said.
According to the professor, the history of the vaccines and the date they were introduced in the country, It is the history of conventional vaccines: for diphtheria, tetanus, among other pathologies, and that everyone has. “But this story also goes through innovative vaccines that have been the product of Cuban research, and that they have also been decisive in that list of the diseases that have been eliminated by vaccines in Cuba and the diseases whose rate has been reduced to insignificant levels ”.
“I tell my students at the Center for Molecular Immunology that you can work 20 hours a day for 20 years, just to be able to look at that poster (previous image). It was what happened in Cuba with the meningococcal meningitis B epidemic, where it was not only about producing a vaccine, but rather a vaccine had to be invented, because at the time of that epidemic there were vaccines against Hepatitis A and C in the world , but not against B. The data illustrating this decline curve is not from a clinical trial, it is national population data. The same story occurred with hepatitis B, and the significant reduction in the incidence rate of this disease with the introduction of the vaccine, which is a recombinant vaccine, that is, high technology, with which everyone is immunized in our country the children. Something similar happened with the Haemophilus influenzae vaccine, which reduced the incidence of Haemophilus meningitis ”, commented Lage Dávila.
The prestigious scientist also highlighted that numerous studies have been published on Cuban biotechnology, but he referred in particular to the editorial of Nature, one of the most prestigious scientific journals in the world. “In 2009 Nature said that the Cuban biotechnology system was the best biotechnological system in the world in developing countries. The question that we can ask ourselves at this point is whether a country with these results needs someone to intervene to introduce a vaccine against COVID-19 “, Held.
Faced with this pandemic, all the countries of the world are concerned. “It is no secret to anyone that we are in the midst of a peak of incidence, but we have to put that in context and to contextualize that truth, within all the data, we can look at one such as lethality, that is, how many deaths there are per number of infected. Of this fatality, the world average is 2.1%, in the United States it is 1.7%, in Florida it is 1.4%, in Brazil it is 2.8% and in Cuba it is 0.76%. These data from international sources show that Cuba has half the fatality rate that the United States has and that of the world. Regarding the intensity of vaccination, which measures the amount of vaccines administered per million inhabitants in a given time, it can be seen that at the end of August 3, Cuba ranked first in the world ranking. Once again we should ask ourselves if a country in these conditions needs the intervention of some other country to guarantee its vaccination coverage ”.
“The fact that we say that we do not need an intervention, in the sense that the United States government is presenting, does not mean that we do not want cooperation. We do want cooperation, in fact we have for decades sought and promoted cooperation with North American scientists, and a convincing example of this is the exchange that exists in the development of the therapeutic vaccine against lung cancer ”, he concluded.