Reinaldo Acevedo, deputy director of Cuba's Finlay Institute, told the 20th Latin American Pharmacology and Therapeutics Congress that the institute is working on a live vaccine and an inactive one, a news agency reported on Thursday.

The live vaccine, in development for more than 10 years, "is composed of live cholera bacteria after extracting the virulence factors. Thus, it is a strain of the disease, but is not pathogenic," Acevedo said.

The vaccine elicits "an immune response" but patients won't get sick, he said.

Compared with other existing vaccines worldwide, the Cuban version has the advantage of being administered in a single oral dose which eliminates the virus in less than 72 hours, he said.

The live vaccine is still under development stage, but has been tested in Cuba and Mozambique with good results in both safety and effectiveness. "New clinical trials in children are likely later this year," he added.

Cholera, an acute diarrhea disease, causes 100,000 to 120,000 deaths each year worldwide, according to the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO). Cuba witnessed a cholera outbreak in 2012.

The Finlay Institute is also developing an inactive vaccine, composed of dead micro-organisms which is much cheaper to develop, said Sonsire Castillo, deputy director of the institute.

"Live vaccines usually require abundant resources, technologies, and logistics for production," she added.

Additionally, with live vaccines, "there is also the fear that they may affect immunologically compromised patients, such as those with AIDS," she said.


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