Cuba will start clinical trials for pneumonia vaccine

The director of the Finlay Institute announced last week that Cuba will begin clinical trials for a pneumonia vaccine later this year using a drug developed jointly by the institute and the Center for Biomolecular Chemistry.

Concepcion Campa made the announcement at the 16th International Seminar of the Caribbean Medical Association. The seminar was held in Havana and began on Wednesday. It featured more than 200 specialists from various countries, French Tribune reports.

Campa said that vaccinations have made major impact in improving the overall health of Cuba. After the heptavalent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine has been tested on humans, it will be made available to those suffering from pneumonia and other diseases caused by pneumococcus. Pneumonia is a major cause of death among the elderly and children in Cuba.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, pneumococcal disease is an infection caused by Streptococcus pneumoniae. Different types of pneumococcal disease include bacteremia, meningitis, pneumococcal pneumonia and otitis media. Symptoms of pneumococcal pneumonia include chest pain, shortness of breath, cough and fever.

Pneumococcal disease can result in long-term complications, including limb loss, hearing loss and brain damage, and can be fatal. The disease spreads by sneezing, coughing or contact with secretions from the respiratory system. Pneumococcal vaccinations can prevent hospitalization, severe disease and death, though they cannot guarantee infection and symptom prevention in all people.