May 08, 2021 14:11 UTC
  • View of a closed street due to COVID-19 cases in the Cuban capital, Havana, on May 5, 2021. (Photo by AFP)
    View of a closed street due to COVID-19 cases in the Cuban capital, Havana, on May 5, 2021. (Photo by AFP)

The Cuban foreign minister says the US blockade against his country has hindered the development and production of domestically-manufactured vaccines against the coronavirus pandemic.

According to Press TV, Bruno Rodriguez made the comments in a post on his Twitter page on Friday, adding that the commercial and financial persecution by the US administration against Cuban companies, counterparts and third parties was delaying the purchase of supplies needed to rein in the deadly pathogen.

The Business Group of the Cuban Biotechnology and Pharmaceutical Industries also recently condemned the effects of Washington's policy toward Havana that prevented the purchase of resources to guarantee medicines for the national health system.

The group mentioned, among other obstacles, the increase in the cost of materials essential for the development of vaccine and said, “The usual suppliers refused to supply them for fear of the impact of the brutal blockade policy on their companies.”

Moreover, Cuba’s Foreign Trade and Investment Minister Rodrigo Malmierca reiterated on Friday his rejection of the US economic, commercial and financial blockade against the Caribbean nation that has been extended even in COVID-19 times.

Back in January, Iran and Cuba signed an agreement to cooperate in the coronavirus vaccine project with the use of a technology that will be transferred to Iran by the Cuban government.

The US sanctions have hampered both country’s access to medical equipment and medicines and complicated the process of importing vaccines from abroad, making them two of the hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic.

Cuba has five COVID-19 vaccine candidates, with two of them -- Soberana and Abdala -- being in Phase 3 of clinical trials. Should the effectiveness of the vaccines be proven, Cuba will have the first COVID-19 vaccines conceived and produced in the South American region.