TEHRAN (Press Shia) – Iran and Cuba signed an official agreement on Friday, according to which they agreed to collaborate on producing a coronavirus vaccine in a joint effort.

While they are both suffering from illegal US sanctions that put foreign pharmaceutical companies off trading with them and as such they seek to be self-reliant, Iran and Cuba signed an accord to share their vaccine production technologies with each other.

According to reports, the last stage of the clinical trials of the Cuban vaccine Soberana 2 will be carried out in Iran.

Iran also launched human trials of its own first domestic COVID-19 vaccine candidate late last month, while Cuba has four candidates currently in human trials.

The Cuban coronavirus vaccine, Soberana (Sovereign) 2, has completed Phase II trials of its most advanced candidate which started on Dec. 22. It will be tested in Phase III trials in around 150,000 people in Havana, officials have said.

Cuba’s Finlay Vaccine Institute said late on Friday it has signed an accord with Iran’s Pasteur Institute to collaborate on testing of Soberana 2.

“This synergy will enable both countries to advance more rapidly in the immunization against the SARS-CoV-2 virus,” it said on its Twitter account.

Cuba says several countries have expressed interest in its coronavirus vaccines but this is the first such accord it has reached.

Health Ministry spokesman Kianush Jahanpur said last month that 50,000 volunteers would be recruited to carry out the Phase III clinical trials of the vaccines. The joint collaboration and production with Cuban vaccine institute will continue, as this synergy allows the two countries to move faster in securing against coronavirus, he said.

In November last year, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said he was “impressed by Cuba’s Nano & #COVID19 achievements” in the fight against the new coronavirus during a visit to Havana on a Latin American tour.

In addition to developing its own vaccine, Iran is participating in the COVAX scheme which is is co-led by the GAVI vaccines alliance, the WHO and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) and is designed to discourage national governments from hoarding COVID-19 vaccines and to focus on first vaccinating the most high-risk people in every country.

However, by praising the Iranian vaccine for the coronavirus as a source of pride, Leader of Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Khamenei has prohibited importing American or English vaccines to the country, calling them not trustworthy countries who may wish to test their vaccine on other nations to see if it works or not.

President of Iran Hassan Rouhani also gave an assurance that the administration has been doing its utmost to produce the coronavirus vaccine inside the country and purchase the reliable vaccines from abroad.