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Cuba to start clinical trials of new pneumonia vaccine

05-04-2012 14:50 BJT

HAVANA, May 3 (Xinhua) -- Cuba will this year begin clinical trials of a new pneumococcal vaccine developed by the island nation's biotech industry, the official daily Granma said Thursday.

The vaccine was developed by scientists at Havana's Finlay Institute and the Center for Biomolecular Chemistry, Finlay Director Concepcion Campa was quoted as saying by Granma.

As one of the most deadly diseases, the bacteria leads to pneumonia and other afflictions such as meningitis and sinusitis, mainly among the elderly, children and those with weakened immune systems.

Campa is participating in the 16th International Seminar of the Caribbean Medical Association (AMECA), which began Wednesday in Havana and gathered 200 specialists from various countries.

Campa gave a lecture on the impact on national public health of the more than 10 vaccines manufactured on the island.

She headed the scientific team that created the "first and only effective vaccine in the world against meningococcal group B" (vaccine VA-MENGOC-BC), according to the Cuban medical authorities.

Among the vaccines Cuba produces are one against hepatitis "B," the first therapeutic vaccine to prevent lung cancer, and a pentavalent against diphtheria, whooping cough, tetanus, hepatitis "B" and the bacterium Haemophilus influenzae type B.

Cuba's biotech industry represents one of the country's main revenue sources, marketing about 38 medications in 40 countries.

According to official data, in 2008, the industry registered profits exceeding 350 million U.S. dollars, representing some 10 percent of the country's total annual exports.

Editor:Wang Lingfei |Source: Xinhua

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