Cuba develops new cholera vaccine

Campaign News | Sunday, 29 May 2005

Field trials begin

HAVANA, May 28: Cuban scientists have developed a new cholera vaccine and are ready to do "field testing" in Africa before it is marketed worldwide, officials said.

The vaccine is derived from a live strain of a genetically modified bacillus that transmits cholera. It was successfully tested on 100 healthy subjects at Cuba's prestigious Instituto Finlay, said its vice president Francisco Dominguez.

"The research showed the antigen is safe and highly effective," Dominguez said.

The next step will be to test whether immunization with the new vaccine maintains its efficacy in countries that have high incidences of cholera, and where people have secondary conditions from malnutrition to malaria or AIDS, Dominguez told reporters.

Cuba has held talks with Mozambique, Equatorial Guinea and South Africa on possible testing there.

Cholera, which had been all but wiped out in Latin America, staged a deadly comeback in the 1990s, claiming thousands of lives.

The Instituto Finlay has been behind a number of new vaccine developments.

It developed the only effective vaccine against type B meningitis which Cuba markets in several countries around the world.

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