Venezuela to produce Abdala, the Cuba developed vaccine, later this year

Caracas, April 12 2021: In a state television address, Venezuelan president, Nicolas Maduro said the country would be producing 2 million doses of the Cuba developed Abdala vaccine later in the year. The country will also take part in the Phase 3 trials for the same vaccine developed by its socialist ally.
Venezuela’s official figures say, the country of 30 million has had 175,000 cases and some 1,700 deaths, but observer groups such as Human Rights Watch question the numbers, which they say are likely vastly underestimated.

Venezuela’s vaccine rollout has been slow, with the country receiving just 250,000 Russian Sputnik V vaccine doses and half a million from China’s Sinopharm to date. Maduro said his government would also sign deals to produce vaccines “with Russia, with China and with other countries.”

Earlier in the week, the government claimed that it would have already purchased the 30 million vaccines it needs but for economic sanctions, led by the US. That brought a rebuke from opposition leader Juan Guaido, who accused the government of lying and blamed Maduro for Venezuela’s lack of vaccines.

Abdala is one of the four vaccines Cuba has developed so far that are in various stages of trials. The island nation has already started vaccinating its health care workers with its two vaccines still in the third phase of clinical trials. Abdala, is being given to 124,000 health care workers, while 48,000 volunteers are taking part in a parallel Phase 3 clinical study.

Should it be approved, Abdala would be the first Covid-19 vaccine entirely developed and produced in Latin America. The Venezuela government said it had paid just over half of the amount it needs to acquire 11.3 million doses through the World Health Organization’s Covax program.

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