A COVID-19 vaccine that can resist the Omicron variant should be ready by March, the head of Pfizer Inc, the American multinational pharmaceutical and biotechnology company, said on Monday, 10 January.
“This vaccine will be ready in March. We (are) already starting manufacturing some of these quantities at risk,” Albert Bourla told CNBC’s Squawk Box, a chat show on the news channel.
Bourla said the vaccine will also target the other variants that are circulating. He said it is still not clear whether or not an omicron vaccine is needed or how it would be used, but Pfizer will have some doses ready since some countries want it ready as soon as possible.
“The hope is that we will achieve something that will have way, way better protection particularly against infections, because the protection against the hospitalizations and the severe disease — it is reasonable right now, with the current vaccines as long as you are having let’s say the third dose,” Bourla said.
The US drugmaker earlier in the day announced three deals to broaden the use of the mRNA technology that its Covid9 vaccine was based on, including a pact worth as much as $1.35 billion with gene-editing specialist Beam Therapeutics. Pfizer has been looking to advance the development of mRNA-based vaccines and therapeutics after it led global efforts to develop a Covid-19 shot against the pandemic.
Meanwhile, on January 10, the UK reported 142,224 new cases and 77 COVID-related deaths in 28 days of a positive test. Similarly in the US, rates of COVID19 cases have remained high with the last 7-day average of daily new cases standing at 586,391, which is an 85.7% increase from the previous week. So far 89 countries across the world have reported cases of the Omicron variant, which was first reported from South Africa’s Gauteng province in early November.
(With inputs from agencies)