Pfizer Inc. warned on Friday that the Covid-19 pandemic will not be over until 2024, and that a lower-dose version of its vaccine for children aged 2 to 4 years old produced a weaker immune reaction than anticipated, possibly postponing approval.
In a briefing to investors, Pfizer Chief Scientific Officer Mikael Dolsten said the company anticipates pandemic levels of Covif-19 cases to persist in some locations for the next year or two. During the same time span, other countries will move to “endemic” status with low, controllable caseloads.
According to the firm, the disease would be widespread all over the world by 2024.
“When and how exactly this happens will depend on evolution of the disease, how effectively society deploys vaccines and treatments, and equitable distribution to places where vaccination rates are low,” Dolsten said. “The emergence of new variants could also impact how the pandemic continues to play out.”
Pfizer and BioNTech SE collaborated on the Covid-19 vaccine, which is expected to produce $31 billion in revenue next year. Next year, it intends to produce 4 billion shots.
Paxlovid, an investigational antiviral tablet developed by the company, reduced hospitalizations and deaths in high-risk people by nearly 90% in a clinical trial. According to IBES statistics from Refinitiv, three analysts predict sales of $15 billion to $25 billion next year.
The Omicron strain, which contains more than 50 alterations compared to the original version of the virus, was discovered last month, prompting Pfizer’s prediction. This has lowered the effectiveness of two doses of the vaccination against infection, raising fears of a global outbreak.
Before the discovery of the Omicron variant, top US disease specialist Anthony Fauci predicted that the pandemic will end in the United States in 2022.
In the United States, the Pfizer vaccine is approved for people aged 5 and up. However, it announced on Friday that a trial of children aged 2 to 4 who received two 3-microgram doses of the vaccine indicated that they did not have the same immunological response as older children who had a bigger dosage of the vaccine.
According to the business, children aged 6 to 24 months had a similar immunological response to the 3-microgram dose.
The company plans to test a three-dose regimen in both age groups, as well as in older children, according to the company. It had originally expected data from 2- to 4-year-olds this year, but said the delay would not affect its intentions to submit an emergency use authorization request in the second quarter of 2022.
Pfizer and BioNTech are also working on a version of their vaccine that is specifically designed to battle the fast-spreading Omicron form, though they haven’t decided whether it will be necessary. Pfizer officials aim to begin a clinical trial for the improved vaccine in January.
If needed, variant-specific shots could enhance sales in 2022.
The coronavirus’s highly transmissible Omicron version has been found in over 77 nations and has spread to around one-third of the United States.
The vaccine was around 95% effective in the adult clinical trial, but Pfizer has said that immunity wanes some months after the second dose. Early data suggests that three doses of the shot may be necessary to protect against the Omicron variant.
In an adult clinical trial, the vaccine was roughly 95 per cent effective, but Pfizer claims that immunity begins to fade a few months after the second dosage. According to preliminary findings, three doses of the vaccine may be required to protect against the Omicron form.
(Adapted from Straitstimes.com)