Cuba reports new variant amid peak of cases

Cuba reports new variant amid peak of cases
Old Havana. Photo: Yandry KW/Shutterstock

Health authorities in Cuba have identified a new coronavirus variant on the island. The information was confirmed by the head of the Cuban Microbiology and Parasitology Society, María Guadalupe Guzmán Tirado, who says the mutation was detected in an asymptomatic patient who had traveled to South Africa and was tested in December.

After initially preventing a massive outbreak, Cuba now finds itself facing its worst moment in the pandemic. In January, the island confirmed its highest number of active cases (4,526) and saw the number of new daily cases jump to roughly 400.

Cuba is centering its inoculation efforts on the locally-made Soberana 2 vaccine, which would be the first coronavirus immunizer to be made in Latin America. The country claims it can produce up to 100 million doses by the end of the year. Soberana 2 has moved onto phase 2 clinical trials with 900 volunteers. If successful, phase 3 trials would start in March with 150,000 volunteers.

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