Cuba – best known for tourism and cigars - is reinventing itself by becoming the world’s smallest country to develop multiple coronavirus vaccines.
The island has a population of only 11 million but is developing five vaccine candidates, of which two are in late-stage trials, which it hopes to start rolling out by next month. If successful, it will generate invaluable income for the impoverished island.
The communist government in Havana has said the vaccines “will comply with international standards” and will eventually be sold or donated to other countries.
Cuba may be unknown as for its vaccine output but it has a booming biotechnology industry that dates back 40 years.
Emboldened by CIA-backed coups across South America, and angered by Washington’s trade embargo on Cuba, Fidel Castro “vowed to build a biotech juggernaut in the Caribbean”.
The late Cuban leader invested heavily in education and health care, which has led to highly trained, world renowned medics working all over the globe.
Today, Cuba is home to at least 31 research companies and 62 factories with more than 20,000 workers. These medical plants produce eight of the 11 dengue fever vaccines used domestically, which are also exported to more than 30 other nations. Now they are concentrating on creating covid vaccines.