- Pfizer CEO Albert Boerla said he has a “very high level of confidence” that the company’s COVID treatment pill is effective against Omicron.
- Borla said Pfizer has already started work on a new vaccine and it could be ready in less than 100 days.
Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said on Monday that he expects the company’s COVID-19 treatment pill to be effective against the Omron version of the virus that causes Covid-19.
“The good news when it comes to our treatment, it was designed with this in mind, with the fact that most mutations are coming in spikes,” Borla told CNBC’s “Squawk Box.” . “So that gives me a very high degree of confidence that the treatment will not be affected, our oral treatment will not be affected by this virus.”
Pfizer submitted its application to the Food and Drug Administration earlier this month to authorize Paxlovid for emergency use. In a clinical trial of people 18 years of age and older, Pfizer found that the pill reduced hospitalization and death by 89% when taken with a widely used HIV drug within three days of the onset of symptoms. reduces.
The pill blocks an enzyme that the virus needs to replicate. It is used in combination with the HIV medicine ritonavir, which slows down the human metabolism so that it remains active in the body for longer periods in higher concentrations to fight the paxlovid virus.
Baurla told CNBC that Pfizer now expects to build 80 million courses of the Pill, which exceeds the company’s original 50 million course creation goal. The Biden administration has already bought 10 million courses of PaxLovid in a $5 billion deal.
The World Health Organization warned in a technical paper published on Sunday that Omicron poses a “very high” global risk with a high probability of onward transmission. The variant contains more than 30 mutations on the spike protein that binds to human cells. According to the WHO, some mutations are associated with higher transmission and decreased antibody protection.
While Baurla was optimistic about Paxlovid’s efficacy, he said the effect of Omicron on the company’s two-dose vaccine remains to be seen.
“I don’t think the result won’t protect vaccines,” Bouerla said. “I think the result may be, what we don’t know yet, that vaccines protect against.”
Bourla said that Pfizer has already started work on creating a new vaccine if needed. The company on Friday created its first DNA template, he said, the first step in the development process.
“We have made it clear many times that we will be able to get the vaccine in less than 100 days,” said Borla. He noted that the company was able to quickly create vaccines for the beta and delta variants, although they were ultimately not used because the original shots remained effective.