Cuba's state-run pharmaceutical company BioFarma has said it has successfully produced Soberana 2, the world’s first conjugate vaccine against COVID-19. The vaccine has an efficacy rate of 91.2 percent as per data from phase-3 trials, the company added.
Previously, it had said Abdala, another vaccine under development, was 92.8 percent efficacious in the late-stage trials.
Efficacy rate exceeding 90 percent puts the two vaccines in the same league as Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna. Soberana 2 is a three-dose vaccine, while the rest follow a two-dose regime.
As per the Cuban government’s COVID-19 task force, the two doses of Soberna 2 are to be followed by a booster shot of Soberana Plus, taken 28 and 56 days after the first dose.
Soberana 2: The conjugate vaccine
Soberana 2, developed by the Finlay Institute, the Centre for Molecular Immunology and the National Biopreparations Centre, is one of the three vaccines in the Soberana series.
It is the only conjugate vaccine developed so far against the Coronavirus. It combines a weak antigen along with a strong antigen that helps the immune system in producing a stronger response to the weak antigen.
“Soberana 2 is unique amongst COVID vaccines for another reason: it combines the antigen's receptor-binding domain with a deactivated form of tetanus in order to boost immune response, making it the only existing conjugate vaccine for COVID-19,” said Helen Yaffe, lecturer at the University of Glasgow, in a blogpost.
Soberana 2 consists of a protein that is derived from the virus, which binds to the cells of the human body, triggering a response. It can be stored in regular refrigeration settings of 2 to 8 degree Celsius.
Apart from Soberana 2, Cuba is developing four other vaccines in its fight against COVID-19. Reports suggest that several countries like Iran, Argentina and Vietnam have expressed interest in manufacturing Cuban vaccines, while Mexico and Jamaica are interested in buying them.
First Published: IST