BOGOTA, Colombia

Cuba will begin the first stage of a clinical trial for a COVID-19 vaccine Aug. 24, officials said Wednesday. 

The Finlay Vaccine Institute registered a clinical trial for one of its candidates at the Cuban Public Registry of Clinical Trials. The SOBERANA 01 trial is on phase I and II and involves 676 volunteers between the ages of 19 and 80.

“Achieving an effective vaccine against COVID-19 is a priority for our entire science and innovation system at BioCubaFarma. Today we see how solid and accelerated progress has been made in this project in the Finlay Institute,” said Eduardo Martínez, president of the BioCubaFarma, on Twitter.

The Finlay Institute is a state-run science center in capital Havana dedicated to the research and manufacture of vaccines where scientists are currently working on four potential vaccines. One is already well advanced in trial tests on the island that has a strong biotech sector and laboratories.

The clinical trial is expected to be completed Jan. 11 and results will be published Feb. 15, according to the Cuban Public Registry of Clinical Trials.

Cuba has been able to control the coronavirus outbreak but in recent days it has reported a growing number of cases. The government has reactivated containment measures, including closing bars, restaurants, public transport and beaches.

The number of new infections still remains in double digits and total cases stand at 3,408, with 88 fatalities — numbers that bucks regional trends.

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