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Cuba: Cuba to collaborate with Iran on coronavirus vaccine

HAVANA (Reuters) – Communist-run Cuba said late on Friday it had signed an accord with Iran to transfer the technology for its most advanced coronavirus vaccine candidate and carry out last-stage clinical trials of the shot in the Islamic Republic.

The allies are both under fierce U.S. sanctions that exempt medicine yet often put foreign pharmaceutical companies off trading with them and as such they seek to be self-reliant. Both are also strapped for cash.

Iran launched human trials of its first domestic COVID-19 vaccine candidate late last month, while Cuba has four candidates currently in human trials.

Once its most advanced candidate, Soberana (Sovereign) 2, has completed Phase II trials which started on Dec. 22, it will be tested in Phase III trials in around 150,000 people in Havana, officials have said.

Yet the Caribbean country will need to conduct more late stage trials abroad too given it does not have a high infection rate due to its successful management of its outbreak, they said. Iran, meanwhile, has been the worst-hit country in the Middle East.

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