Cuba Tests a Cholera Vaccine

Cholera. Photo:

HAVANA TIMES — Cuban researchers are working to develop a cholera vaccine that is being tested in Cuba and Mozambique, reported dpa news.

There are two variants to combat the intestinal disease developed at the Finlay Institute in Havana. One of them, a “live vaccine strain” is in the testing phase with “good results” in Mozambique and on the island.

The development of this vaccine is “the result of a project over more than ten years,” explained Reinaldo Acevedo, the assistant director of applied research at the Finlay Institute.

The vaccine is administered in a single dose and gets rid of the virus “in less than 72 hours,” says Acevedo. Clinical trials on children are a possibility in the coming months.

The testing process, however, is not yet successfully concluded. “Although it is in a phase of advanced clinical trials, we still cannot say that Cuba has a vaccine against this disease,” noted Acevedo.

The other is an “inactivated” vaccine for dead microorganisms he added.

Cuba suffers from a cholera outbreak since mid-2012, after considering the disease eradicated after decades unregistered cases. It is estimated that the epidemic is strongest in the east of the island, although there have been cases in Havana.

The disease most likely arrived in Haiti, hard hit by cholera. That country, where many hundreds of Cuban physicians have been working since the ‘90s, blames UN peacekeepers for bringing the disease in October 2010. The Haitian government recently said the recorded number of cases is  680,820 cases, with 8,307 deaths.

The disease has also spread in other countries in the region. Mexico reported 171 cases last week. Cases have also been reported in the Dominican Republic.