Protein-Based Vaccines, Cuba & the World Fight Against COVID

I think just about everyone has had their fill of masks and social distancing, and I don’t mean just those claiming they’re tyrannical tools of oppression. We’re about to start Year 3 of this pandemic and I think most everyone is sick and tired of it.

Unfortunately, even as COVID appears to be subsiding and maybe even downgrading to endemic status, a low level of vaccinations worldwide pose constant danger that a new variant will erase our progress and send us back to Square 1.

As shown in this map, a huge portion of the world’s population remains unvaccinated. Most are in poor under-developed countries, primarily Africa. But even here, 15% of the U.S. population remains totally unvaccinated. Among the other 85% are many who have only had one shot or have skipped their 3rd booster shot.

Source: Our World in Data via BBC News

Interviews on NPR’s Science Friday

Yesterday NPR’s Science Friday broadcast featured two interviews that talk about the challenge and reasons behind the low vaccination rate in the poor under-developed counties. They also explain that protein-based vaccines make worldwide immunization feasible. They’re safe, easy to distribute and store, and low cost because they aren’t patented and aren’t sold for profit.

This is important! As goes the world, so go we. We vaccinate the world or we pay the price.

Could Protein-Based Vaccines Help Close The Global Vaccination Gap?

“A new generation of COVID-19 vaccines are being developed and distributed around the world. They’re called recombinant-protein vaccines. But the tech is actually not at all new. In fact, It’s been used to produce hepatitis C and pertussis vaccines for decades.”

NPR’s Ira Flatow interviews Maria Elena Bottazzi, Associate Dean at the National School of Tropical Medicine and Co-Director of the Texas Children’s Hospital Center for Vaccine Development at the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas.

Listen or read the transcript

How Cuba Developed Five COVID-19 Vaccines

“Cuba was able to quickly produce five coronavirus vaccines, thanks to the island’s robust biotech industry. For decades, Cuba has produced its own home-grown vaccines and distributed them to neighboring countries. 

“But sanctions and political dynamics have complicated Cuba’s ability to distribute their COVID-19 vaccines with the world.”

Ira Flatow interviews Ira Helen Yaffe, senior lecturer of economic and social history at Glasgow University, and author of We Are Cuba! How a Revolutionary People Have Survived in a Post-Soviet World.

Listen or read the transcript

Title image was taken in Havana, Cuba, in June 2021. Cuban doctors work in the vaccination campaign in Cuba against the coronavirus with the Cuban vaccines “Soberana02” and “Abdala.” Cubans get vaccinated against the coronavirus. (Yandry_kw/Shutterstock)

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