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Weekly Report - 04 March 2021 (WR-21-09)

CUBA: Another form of sovereignty

The coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic had already renewed focus on one of Cuba’s signature programmes: sending healthcare professionals around the world [WR-20-14]. Now the island’s highly regarded medical and biotechnology sector looks set for a further victory. With four anti-Covid-19 candidate vaccines in different phases of clinical trials, two of them, Soberana 02 and Abdala, are due to begin the third and final phase of testing this month. This brings Cuba a significant step closer to producing Latin America’s first vaccine against the virus. As well as the public health benefits, this should be a shot in the arm for Cuba’s economy, which shrank by 11% in 2020 and has been badly damaged by the triple crisis posed by the pandemic and its impact on the island’s crucial tourism sector, by US economic sanctions, and by the ongoing economic collapse of its key ally Venezuela.

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