From Turin to Havana, scientific bridge with Soberana Plus

From Turin to Havana, scientific bridge with Soberana Plus
Fecha de publicación: 
16 November 2021
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While major news outlets relished and dreamed about the promised news of a social unrest in Cuba this November 15, our truths —ignored but certain— were shown: the beginning of the school year, the opening of borders and the resulting arrival of flights, the resuming of tourism, as well as the joy of life after and amid this tough pandemic.

Among those many certainties, one fact stands out today: the trip to Cuba of a brigade of 35 Italian volunteers who will be part of the Soberana Plus Turin clinical trial, a collaboration between the Finlay Vaccine Institute and the Amedeo Hospital in Savoia, located in the city of Piedmont, result of the efforts of the Agency for Cultural and Economic Exchange with Cuba (AICEC), its president Michele Curto, and the young Italian scientist Fabrizio Chiodo, a scientist collaborator at Finlay Vaccine Institute. A milestone that was also possible thanks to the collaboration of the Embassies of both countries, Italy and Cuba.

Science speaks for itself

“Soberana Plus Turin is a clinical study carried out in both nations: Cuba and Italy, for people immunized with vaccines authorized by the European Union (Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson) who get the Cuban Soberana Plus vaccine as a third dose, developed by the Havana’s Finlay Vaccines Institute," detailed the Turin institution in a statement about the trial.

From Finlay, it is being stated that it is a study approved by Cecmed, the Cuban regulatory authority, of prospective design, open, non-controlled, in parallel and multicenter groups. It will be carried out on Italian volunteers convalescing from COVID19, and in others without a history of the disease, previously immunized with other anti-SARS-CoV-2 vaccines.

La Pradera International Health Center will serve as the Main Clinical Site. The vaccination will take place there, and 28 days later, the response of specific antibodies will be checked at the Microbiology and Virology Laboratory of the Amedeo di Savoia University Clinic.

For the Turin hospital, “it is, therefore, an important scientific bridge and a prestigious bilateral collaboration between Italy and Cuba, achieved thanks to the Agency for Cultural and Economic Exchange with Cuba (AICEC), already committed to the arrival and accompaniment of the Cuban Medical Brigade involved in the Covid OGR Hospital in Turin, in the spring of 2020.”

The Italian institution highlights that Soberana Plus is the only vaccine in the world developed, from the beginning, as a booster product and emphasizes that this type of immunogen is very safe. In fact, millions of children —over two years of age— have been vaccinated without side effects.

From an economic point of view, a consideration far from insignificant. It is a technology that guarantees extremely low costs, ease of storage, technological simplicity and, therefore, large-scale production facility, which represents enormous hope in the challenge of guaranteeing vaccines for all mankind.

In the opinion of Dr. and Professor Giovanni Di Perri, Head of the University Clinic for Infectious Diseases at the Amedeo Hospital in Savoia, “in an increasingly post-emergency perspective, the completion of the development of protein vaccines such as Soberana Plus will broaden the options available and may be a solution that contributes to expanding the percentage of the population protected by vaccination.”

From Malpensa, expectations

From the Malpensa Airport, in Milan, the Italian volunteers, amid all the airplane boarding procedure prior to the flight to Cuba, talked about the trial on social networks.

Matteo Saccani, one of the AICEC founders and a participant in the study, stated in a video released by the account of the Cuban ambassador to Italy, José Carlos Rodríguez, that “after the great help Cuba provided us during the pandemic with the sending of a medical brigade to Turin and Crema, now Cuba is helping the Italian people again with this trial. We, the 35, are honored to be here and receive Soberana Plus.

“Personally, I am very excited by this important moment, this opportunity for collaboration between our two countries, the two peoples,” Mattia Baldini, also member of AICEC, confirmed, and expressed his confidence that “it will be an achievement, for the Cuban science, of which we know its high level, but not everyone knows about it, and we hope that this study can be useful" to that purpose.

Maria Giovanna Tamburello, a solidarity friend of Cuba and the Revolution, said she felt “happy and proud to be part of this study. I have great confidence, total confidence in the work of Cuban scientists, who are the best in the world.”

We met them during our recent stay in Italy, and we witnessed the volunteer recruitment process, which generated a work dynamic greater than the already strong commitment of AICEC with Cuba. Michele Curto and his entire team, together with Fabrizzio Chiodo, all champions of the island, of our vaccines, and in short, of our public biotechnology, made by and for the people, carefully watched every step in the building of this scientific bridge, which is also a bridge of love.

I heard Chiodo more than once say before an audience that the world and Europe are hostile to Cuba, but that among technical people, in the scientific world, there is great respect for Cuban biotechnology. "It is a guarantee, they have said." Therefore, in his opinion, the defense of Cuban science in that difficult environment "is a battle that is far from being lost," he said. Soberana Plus Turin is one of those roads.

Translated by Sergio A. Paneque Díaz / CubaSí Translation Staff

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