Cuba and China are working together to develop a new vaccine called the PanCorona which will be effective against new variants of COVID-19. The Chinese website Xinhua reported that scientists from Cuba’s Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (CIGB) and Chinese researchers are working on the vaccine at the joint biotech innovation center in Yongzhou, in Hunan Province.
Dr. Gerardo Guillén, the director of Biomedical Research at CIGB, said that the project began with a request from the Chinese that has been approved by the Ministry of Science and Technology.
The project is based on combining parts of viruses that are conserved and not so exposed to variation to generate antibodies, aimed at cellular response.
Dr. Guillén said that “It is another type of vaccine candidate that is more cross protective, cross reactive. It can protect against different strains since the cellular response is more conserved than the antibody response among different strains.”
“It is a strategy that could protect against epidemiological emergencies of new strains of the coronavirus that could exist in the future,” he said.
The Yongzhou joint biotechnology innovation center is staffed by Cuban scientists, equipped by China. and built with equipment and laboratories designed by specialists from Cuba. Cuban research projects and technologies are being developed there.
The PanCorona vaccine project is another example of the long term collaboration between Cuba and China in the biopharma industry, among many other sectors.