By Mohammad Mazhari

Iran, Cuba’s COVID -19 vaccines are surprising: Kuwaiti physician

January 9, 2021 - 17:41

TEHRAN - A Kuwaiti medical expert says Iran and Cuba surprised all when they announced the human testing phase of their national vaccine while they are living under siege.

“There was a surprise from besieged countries such as Iran and Cuba. The Iranian Shafa Pharma Company announced the human testing phase of its national vaccine,” Issam al-Salih tells the Tehran Times. 

“Iran and Cuba have proven that determination and ambition are important matters for security and health independence,” the physician remarked.

Iran has launched human trials of its coronavirus vaccine, and health officials are optimistic about tackling the pandemic in West Asia’s hardest-hit country.

The start of clinical trials on December 29 came as Iran has managed to bring its COVID-19 fatalities down to a three-month low and the country continues to face difficulties in importing vaccines due to illegal U.S. sanctions.

According to the Kuwaiti physician, Iran and Cuba could break the monopoly of COVID-19 vaccines.

The following is the text of the interview:

Q: What are the latest developments regarding the spread of the Coronavirus in Kuwait? What measures have been taken to contain the pandemic?

A: The conditions in terms of containing the Coronavirus pandemic in Kuwait look good, as the country has managed to reduce the number of infected people for the first time to about 200-250 cases per day, which is the lowest in the last six months, and for the first times the number of patients admitted to intensive clinic wards has decreased to about 50-60%.

“The monopoly of vaccines is going to be broken in light of competition and the need for the vaccine, and as the proverb says, ‘Necessity is the mother of invention’! Thus, Iran and Cuba have proven that determination and ambition are important matters for security and health independence.”Kuwait is considered one of the first countries that are using the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine in the world, as vaccinations will start among vulnerable and high-risk groups such as medical staff, front-line workers, and those with weak immunity. The vaccination campaign and the distribution of vaccines began 7 days ago!

Q: Which countries are pioneers in providing vaccines to contain the Corona pandemic?

A: There are a number of countries in the world that have competed to develop a vaccine for Corona, including Russian, Chinese, American, British-Swiss, and German companies such as Pfizer, American Moderna, and Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine as well as Chinese companies such as CanSino and Sinovac and companies from other countries in the world.

But there was also a surprise from besieged countries such as Iran and Cuba. The Iranian Shafa Pharma company announced the human testing phase of its national vaccine, where 10,000 volunteers are preparing to receive the vaccine! While Cuba announced its national vaccine, Soberana02.

Thus, the monopoly of vaccines is going to be broken in light of competition and the need for the vaccine, and as the proverb says, "Necessity is the mother of invention"!

Thus, Iran and Cuba have proven that determination and ambition are important matters for security and health independence.

Q: How would you assess the Arab world’s reaction to the Corona pandemic?

A: The level of Arabs’ response to the Corona pandemic varied from one country to another, as it seems that the populous countries had the worst performance.

It became clear that the (Persian) Gulf states were the most alert and prepared.

Qatar is at the top of countries that have succeeded in containing the pandemic in terms of infected people and the number of deaths, followed by the Emirates, Oman, Bahrain, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia, while Iraq has suffered a great Coronavirus crisis due to its poor health services as well as poor equipment.

Transparency was absent in many Arab countries, including Egypt and Syria. The situation in Yemen is worse as the country is greatly affected by the war. The medical and logistical blockade, in addition to hunger and poverty, has led to successive disasters for the Yemeni people. North African countries, specifically Algeria, were affected by the pandemic. They were less prepared for it than required.

Q: How do you see the strength of the new strain of Coronavirus, which is said to have originated in Britain?

A: New reports indicate the spread of a new strain of Corona in Britain, South Africa, and a number of European countries, and now there is no sufficient information except that the rate of its spread has severely doubled and that it affects younger age groups in comparison with COVID-19.

According to medical reports, the vaccine is effective, despite mutations in the coronavirus which are not strangely unpredictable.

Multiple mutations of the Coronavirus have been tracked and we are waiting for new information about it, and we ask God for good health for everyone, but there is no clear indication that the virus has become more brutal so far.

Q: How do you assess the performance of the so-called developed countries like the U.S. and Britain in containing the pandemic and reducing the number of infected people or deaths?

It is noticeable that many developing countries have not been affected that much by the Corona pandemic in comparison to those in Europe and America. 

African countries do not, for some reason, record large numbers, either due to the weakness of medical and administrative services or for environmental immunological reasons, but South American countries, especially Brazil, Mexico, Panama, and Peru, are caught in a disastrous situation. That is because of the lack of compliance with social distancing, overcrowding, and poor health services.

As for what is happening in America, it is like a catastrophe, despite the advancement of medical technology.

However, the pandemic has proven that when the disease breaks out, a depletion of health and clinical staff is expected. This shows that prevention is more effective than treatment.

This is what happened in America when treatment centers failed to play their role.

The U.S. president’s mismanagement of the crisis was clear. A number of other factors, such as demonstrations by the Blacks and elections, helped aggravate the outbreak of the pandemic.

Now the U.S. is rushing to use the vaccine to solve the escalation of the crisis, as America is the most affected country in the world by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Q: What is your opinion about the possibility of launching an initiative to form regional scientific cooperation in which the countries of the region, including Iran, Iraq, and the Persian Gulf states, would join it? Do you think that the ground is suitable for that?

A: The countries of the region in the (Persian) Gulf have to cooperate in the health field and exchange scientific experiences and expertise. Health and food security are as important as social and political security, as it should be less expensive and more effective.

The geographical neighborhood is a factor that helps the spread of the disease, depending on cooperation between countries, especially when they can coordinate and avoid fueling disputes, crises or external interventions. 

We wish the peoples of the region to join hands with us. What unites them is much more than what divides them, especially since there are teams and experiences that the region and even the world should benefit from.



  • 2021-01-23 07:53
    As many as 60% of medicos in the US refuse to submit to the Covid-19 vaccine and, as the list of vaccine casualties rises, this percentage will expand. Citizens, too, are becoming nervous about a vaccine that is not a vaccine, legally or medically... the mRNA model. People welcome a Cuban model.

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