This is how the creation of vaccines against COVID-19 in Latin America progresses

Countries such as Cuba, Mexico and Argentina are in search of the creation and approval of their own vaccines against COVID-19 .

COVID-19 Vaccine Container

Latin American countries are after their own vaccine that allows independence from Europe and the United States in their vaccination plans. Photo: Rawpixel

LatinAmerican Post | Christopher Ramírez Hernández

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Leer en español: This is how the creation of vaccines against COVID-19 in Latin America progresses

According to the specialized portal Statista , on March 29 there were more than 300 candidates for vaccines against COVID-19 that had been registered all over the planet. Of these, at least twelve had already passed the third clinical phase, for which their use in humans had been approved.

As expected, European countries, China and the United States were the ones that took advantage in the race to obtain a vaccine. Biologics such as those from Pfizer (United States), Sinovac (China), AstraZeneca (United Kingdom) and Sputnik V (Russia), have been the most popular worldwide. With its inoculation, the hope of reaching the beginning of the end of the pandemic was already a reality.

However, although they are not the most notable, there are also candidates for vaccines born in Latin America, with countries such as Cuba, Mexico and Argentina at the forefront of this scientific research in our continent.

Cuba, the 'little giant' of Latin America

On the small island located in the heart of the Caribbean, the parallel investigation of five COVID-19 vaccine candidates is already being treated as a triumph, two of them are already in phase 3 of the clinical trials necessary to support their mass use.

Soberana 02 and Abdala are the names of the biologicals that have caused the most illusion among Cubans, the first being the most anticipated and the one with the greatest option to see the world light soon.

According to El País, of Spain, if it continues along the path that the communist government has decided to travel in Cuba, before the end of June or July, this country would already have the authorization of the National Regulatory Agency of Cuba for its general distribution on the island.

Now, for the Cuban Government it is of utmost importance not to reduce the use of its vaccines in its territory, but to touch foreign lands with them. For this reason, it has used its international allies to test in their countries, for example, Sovereign 02.

This was reported a few days ago by Infobae, ensuring that Cuba has a deal with Iran to experiment with some 24,000 volunteers its vaccine against COVID-19. The clinical trial, which is part of the third phase, would have started on April 26. In this way, the Cubans hope to take the first step so that their biological agent becomes the first clearly generated in Latin America against SARS-CoV-2.

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Mexico, the promise of the Latin American 'north'

The case of Mexico, although still new to Cuba, is also a viable and hopeful option for the region.

At the end of March, the researchers from the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), in collaboration with their colleagues from the Alpharma Laboratories, had already entered a preclinical phase of their vaccine candidate, with several "interesting" results. experiment with mice and pigs.

"The vaccine candidate formulated for human use was tested in mice, in which it induced a potent high-level response of antibodies that are neutralizing; that is, they are capable of inhibiting the entry of the virus into the cell," explained the chief researcher. , the biochemist and immunologist Edda Sciutto, in conversation with the BBC.

Of course, these types of results, which demonstrate the efficacy of the vaccine (not the effectiveness), represent an iota of illusion for the Mexican team in charge of the investigation.

If this continues, Sciutto hopes "that trials in people can begin in May and that in the course of this year we can have a Mexican version of the vaccine, if the results we expect come out."

However, there is still no talk of a possible commercialization of this vaccine candidate. The objective of this project, according to its creators, is "to have national vaccines" so as not to depend on foreign laboratories in the execution of the vaccination plan in Mexico.

Argentina, the innovator of the south

In the south of the continent, Brazil has an advanced scientific program in search of a vaccine against COVID-19, and can be considered as Cuba's strongest competitor in the region.

However, highlighting the role of Argentina in this part of America is relevant, taking into account that this country has an innovative setting in the way of supplying the biological to the population.

The Argentine team seeking this feat is led by scientists from the University of La Plata , who are not only trying to get Argentina to generate its own vaccine, but also their own way of offering it to the public.

“In the particular case of a vaccine for COVID-19, a vaccination strategy was designed based on the use of nanoparticles with protein fractions from SARS-CoV-2 […] which will initially be used in a systemic vaccine, but it will also be it is evaluating the development of mucosal vaccines , ”said Guillermo Docena, a researcher from the Institute of Immunological and Physiopathological Studies, according to statements collected by the Argentine university.

The British Society for Immunology (BSI) explains that mucosal vaccination is nothing more than the application of the substance in the mucous tissues of the body, either by nasal or oral route.

"Vaccines that induce mucosal immunity involve the administration of antigens at one or more sites , which can induce immune responses at the site of administration, other mucosal sites, or at a distance (systemic)," the BSI teaches.

In this way, Argentina is seeking to create a vaccine alternative that supports the early control of COVID-19 infection, in addition to eliminating the need for injection to supply the dose.

For now, this research is in a preclinical phase, which will be analyzed during 2021 , in search of favorable results that allow it to move to clinical phases at the beginning of 2022.

Thus, this candidate seeks to address possible mutations of the virus in the region and to collaborate optimally in immunity against it.

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