Cuba has a world-class health system despite the communist country’s relative poverty – and one medical discovery has caught the world’s attention.
Researchers in the island nation have developed a vaccine against lung cancer – which is now freely available to Cubans.
Unsurprusingly, in a country known for making cigars, lung cancer is a huge problem in Cuba, responsible for one in four deaths.
The vaccine doesn’t work like a vaccine against viral infections – it is administered to patients who already have the disease.
Cimavax has been shown to extend the lifespans of patients with lung cancer – which often kills patients rapidly.
The medicine has been approved in Cuba, and clinical trials are now scheduled in other countries.
Cancer Research UK says, ‘There were 12 people under 60 who had a good immune response and their improvement in survival was greatest – they lived on average for just over 15 months compared to 7.4 months for people who didn’t have the vaccine.
‘Do remember that this is a small group – 12 is really too small a number to draw any firm conclusions.