A lecture by Dr. Gertrudis Rojas on the incredible endeavor of Cuban vaccine development

This is a reminder that the third lecture of the Bisan Lecture Series (BLS) in concert with Scientists for Palestine and the Bisan Center for Research and Development, will be held by Dr. Gertrudis Rojas, Head of the Protein Engineering Department at the Center of Molecular Immunology in Havana, Cuba, on Wednesday May 11, 2022 at 7 p.m. Palestine time, 5 p.m. UK time,or noon USEST.

It is hard to overstate the importance of this lecture. Cuba in fact faces many of the same challenges as Palestine making the first hand experience of Cuban scientists of extreme importance for our work.

Spaces to follow the lecture on Zoom are filling up quickly, register today!

Title: Soberana vaccines against SARS-CoV2: handling antigenic complexity in a versatile biotechnological process

Abstract: The advent of COVID-19 in Cuba has given rise to an urgent need for effective vaccines in the face of severely limited resources. To meet this challenge, Cuba relies on diversity: multiple production facilities with different platform technologies, multiple vaccine antigen formats, and multiple vaccine candidates.  The Soberana family of vaccines are an important component of this complex landscape whose story  is written at the interface between biology and chemistry. Their specific antigen component is the virus’s receptor-binding domain—its RBD.

The RBD is a promising vaccine antigen because it’s the part of the main viral surface protein that binds specifically to the receptor protein ACE2 on human cells to initiate infection. People vaccinated with the RBD produce antibodies that can prevent infection by blocking the interaction between the virus’s RBD and the ACE2 receptor on cells in vaccinees’ airways, lungs, and other tissues. A specially engineered form of the RBD was prepared by recombinant DNA technology in mammalian cells—living factories that produce the protein in a natural human-like environment. The RBD was then incorporated into vaccine platforms that had already been developed by Cuba’s extensive vaccination programs, creating three vaccine candidates, Soberana-01, Soberana-02, and Soberna-Plus, that are already being tested and deployed.

The Facebook event can be found here and you can register for the Zoom event here.

About The Bisan Lecture Series

The BLS aims at the full integration of Palestine into the global learning community. It sponsors discourses on subjects of cultural, scientific, and societal importance by leading research experts and public intellectuals of varied heritage and viewpoint. The interactive webinars are free and open to the public, and recordings of each will be posted soon afterward.

The Bisan Center for Research and Development which sponsors the BLS and which gives it its name, is a non-governmental, nonprofit, democratic and progressive Civil Society Organization (CSO) that seeks to enhance Palestinian abilities and potentials for building an active civil and democratic community. The Bisan Center is one of the six prominent Palestinian civil society organizations designated by the Israeli Defense Minister “terrorist organizations” on October 19, 2021. The BLS is a response by the international academic community to this baseless Israeli attack on the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, in particular their rights to education and academic freedom.

The BLS website is accessible here. To receive BLS announcements, you can subscribe to the mailing list here

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