Cuba and Argentina have signed an agreement to collaborate together on the Communist island’s ‘homemade’ Covid-19 vaccines.
The agreement, signed by Argentina’s Health Minister Carla Vizzotti, and her Cuban counterpart, José Ángel Portal, "includes the will to collaborate on vaccines developed on the island against Covid-19, in the immunisation of the Cuban population and Argentina, as well as the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean," reported Cuba's official state newspaper Granma.
The deal comes after Vizzotti met with Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel at the Palace of the Revolution in Havana on Saturday. According to Cuban state television, the duo discussed “the advancement of Cuban vaccine candidates and the drugs developed by Cuba" against coronavirus.
"They also exchanged on the possibilities of cooperation (...) with Argentina and other Latin American and Caribbean nations," said a report, which said Cecilia Nicolini, advisor to President Alberto Fernández, was also in attendance.
Vizzotti and Nicolini arrived in Havana last Thursday for a working visit, during which they learnt more about the vaccination strategies undertaken by Cuba’s health authorities.
Their visit is exploring "the possibilities of collaboration between Argentina and Cuba” on Covid-19 vaccines “to accelerate the processes, favour the escalation of production and the access of both Cubans and Argentines and the entire region," Vizzotti told local television Friday, adding that Argentina wants to “collaborate in whatever way we can.”
“We are talking about the common project and about working not only to value a fully developed, produced and applied vaccine in Latin America, but also to do so in other areas of health and science and technology,” added Vizzotti.
Multiple reports last month said that Fernández had asked the officials to study the development of Cuban vaccines and to see where Argentina could assist in production. Cuba currently has five ‘homemade’ vaccines in development, though two – Soberana 02 and Abdala – are the closest to being finished. Both are in Phase III of clinical trials and are awaiting authorisation for emergency or conditional use from the island’s health authorities and are expected to be rolled out in June, though the government has already sought to vaccinate at-risk populations with the shots given a surge in infections in recent weeks on the island.
Posting on Twitter, Díaz-Canel hailed the visit of the Argentine delegation, saying that having “having the brothers at home is always good news – Cuba's vaccine candidates were also conceived with them in mind."