As The Independent points out, “Cuba was forced to come up with many of its own medical breakthroughs” during the half century it was cut off from the West. And one of its most incredible discoveries, a lung cancer vaccine, is about to cross U.S. borders.

From The Independent:

The closed-off Caribbean nation is emerging from a 55-year rift with the US, and the historic shift in diplomatic standing is set to give American scientists their first glimpse at the medical breakthroughs developed in Cuba during that time.

One of the most prominent is a drug which suppresses the growth of tumours in the lungs. Cimavax has been available for free to all Cuban citizens since 2011, is believed to have minimal side effects and can prolong the life of a patient in the late stages of the disease by as much as six months…During the economic blockade by the US and after a string of serious disease outbreaks, Cuban leader Fidel Castro made biotechnology and medical research a key priority for the allocation of limited government funds.

The ground-breaking US study of Cimavax will take place at the Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, New York, and the centre’s CEO Candace Johnson told Wired “the chance to evaluate a vaccine like this is a very exciting prospect”…the specific decision to allow Cimavax to be studied in the US comes after a trade mission to Cuba led by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo…As part of the deal, Manhattan-based company Infor will provide healthcare software to a Cuban university.

Read more here.

As noted above, Cimavax was made free to all Cuban citizens, but it’s doubtful, given the U.S. pharmaceutical industry’s penchant for profit, that the same will hold true for American citizens if Big Pharma gets its hands on the vaccine.

—Posted by Natasha Hakimi Zapata

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