Cuban scientists work on a vaccine against the Omicron variant of the coronavirus

Cuban scientists are working on the development of a vaccine against the Omicron variant of the coronavirusaccording to official sources.

Thanks to this work, an antigen against this contagious variant of SARS-COV-2 “is ready to be formulated into a vaccine candidate, and to start the corresponding preclinical and clinical trials,” according to what was reported by Dr. Eduardo Martínez, president of the state group BioCubaFarma.

manager explained to the official newspaper Granma that the antigen has been produced “at the laboratory level”, and that “soon” Cuban scientists hope to have “a vaccine candidate to evaluate it in the preclinical and in humans against the Omicron variant”.

“From now on come the formulation processes and then evaluation,” he said, although without detailing which scientific center was in charge of the study or if the new vaccine candidate would be based on any of the vaccines or anticovid candidates already developed on the island.

Martínez explained that previously antigens of the Beta and Delta strains had already been obtained in Cuba, but highlighted the importance of achieving a vaccine with the Omicron antigen, due to the high contagiousness of this variant and its different subvariants, such as BA.5, “Causing a new outbreak of COVID-19 in the world, and a trend of increasing cases in Cuba in recent weeks.”

The president of BioCubaFarma also warned about the variant BA.2.75, known as Centauro, which shares 45 mutations with BA.5, is currently reported in some 12 countries and can be five times more contagious than BA.1, if well “there is not much information yet on whether it increases the risk of severity”.

These new variants, he said, increasingly escape vaccine-induced immunity and even that obtained through virus infection, although existing vaccines, such as the Cuban Abdala and Soberanas, still maintain “a high level of protection against severe disease and death, especially when you have high antibody titers.

For this reason, Martínez confirmed the decision of the Cuban authorities to reinforce the population with another dose, a process that had already been applied to those over 50 years of age and that was recently decided to be extended to the rest of the people, along with other measures. measures with a view to avoiding a new wave of COVID-19.

The specialist explained that the immunity of around 6,000 people on the island has been studied and “preliminary results show that there is a high level of immunity against the virus in our population.”

In recent weeks, daily coronavirus infections have been increasing progressively until they once again exceeded one hundred, after two months below that figure.

In Cuba, more than 90% of the population already has the complete anticovid immunization schedule, while more than 7.4 million people have received at least one booster dose, according to official data.

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