Despite U.S. Embargo, Cuba Aims to Share Homegrown Vaccine with Global South

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A 60-year U.S. embargo that prevents U.S.-made products from being exported to Cuba has forced the small island nation to develop its own COVID-19 vaccines and rely on open source designs for life-saving medical equipment such as ventilators. We speak to leading Cuban scientist Dr. Mitchell Valdés-Sosa about how massive mobilization helped produce three original vaccines that have proven highly effective against the coronavirus. “In a moment that the whole world was mobilizing to face this tremendous menace that was killing people around the world, the U.S. administration did not lift any of the 400 sanctions that were slapped on Cuba during the Trump administration plus this decades-long embargo,” says Valdés-Sosa, director of the Cuban Center for Neuroscience. “Medicines and vaccines are not a commodity. It’s not something to get rich with. It’s something to save people’s lives.”

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