Updated 11:15 AM EDT, Sat, Mar 23, 2019

New Cuban Chronic Hepatitis B Vaccine Under Clinical Trials in 8 Countries

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A new Cuban vaccine for hepatitis B is currently undergoing clinical trials in eight countries.

The vaccine, named HeberNasvac, was created by Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology Center, or CIGB, Fox News Latino reported. The clinical trials are in collaboration with the French company Abivax.

HeberNasvac is administered via nasal passages or subcutaneously, and has showed that it is "safer and more effective" than the existing products available in the market for treating the virus, Fox News Latino reported from the official daily Granma.

According to CIGB officials, the medical evaluation's protocol "was designed by leading experts contracted by Abivax along with Cuban scientists," the news outlet noted. CIGB also said that pleasing results were obtained from the clinical trials in Asia, one of the places heavily affected by the virus.

The product's clinical trials consist of a sample of 230 patients in 50 clinics in Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Hong Kong, and the Philippines, Fox News Latino listed. The vaccine's second clinical study, which is still in its patient sample recruitment phase, will be conducted in 13 medical centers in Cuba.

Official news agency Prensa Latina said that the trials will help 160 patients residing in the Caribbean island, Fox News Latino added. The vaccine is expected to be used in Cuba in 2016 after it becomes approved in the medical register for inclusion by the Cuban Center for State Control of Medications, Equipment, and Medical Devices. Projects held in Cuba for the creation of new medicines have won the National Prize of the Academy of Sciences plenty of times.

In Nov. 2014, the island's medical officials have labeled preventive vaccines against cholera, pneumococcus, and hepatitis B as "highly innovative, safe, and effective products," the news outlet wrote. The medication products are being prepared for registration and application this year.

Figures from the World Health Organization, or WHO, indicate that almost 1 million deaths occur every year due to hepatitis. The disease is also one of the root causes of cancer of the liver, cirrhosis of the liver, and other complications like ascites, varicose veins of the esophagus, and splenomegaly, Fox News Latino listed.

An estimated 240 million people worldwide is infected with hepatitis B, Gastroenterology & Endoscopy News reported. WHO recently issued its first-ever clinical guidelines on preventing and treating chronic hepatitis B.

Anna Lok, MD, director of clinical hepatology, said that WHO's publication are directed to a larger audience, and that it has significance for those living in areas with limited resources and without the existence of national guidelines, Gastroenterology & Endoscopy News added.

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