According to Pfizer officials, Covid will become an endemic disease as early as 2024, meaning the virus would convert from a worldwide emergency to a persistent presence causing regional outbreaks around the world, similar to the flu.
During a Friday investor call, Nanette Cocero, worldwide head of Pfizer Vaccines, said, “We believe Covid will transition to an endemic state, potentially by 2024.”
Covid-19 would achieve endemic status when communities have developed enough immunity from vaccines or previous infections to control transmissions, hospitalizations, and fatalities even while the virus spreads.
“When and how exactly this happens will depend on the evolution of the disease, how effectively society deploys vaccines and treatments, and equitable distribution to places where vaccination rates are low,” said Pfizer chief scientific officer Mikael Dolsten. “The emergence of new variants could also impact how the pandemic continues to play out.”
According to Dolsten, the timing of Covid’s transformation to an endemic condition could differ from place to place.
“It seems like over the next year or two, some regions will transition to an endemic model while other regions will continue in pandemic mode,” Dolsten added.
The Pfizer executives’ comments come as the United States confronts a rise in Covid cases caused by the delta variation, while the omicron strain spreads swiftly. Covid’s seven-day average of new hospital admissions increased by 4% from the previous week, according to CDC Director Rochelle Walensky, who spoke at a White House briefing on Friday.
As the epidemic spreads, Angela Hwang, group president of the Pfizer Biopharmaceuticals Group, believes that stockpiling vaccinations and Covid therapies like Pfizer’s oral antiviral pill will become more widespread.
According to Cocero, Pfizer wants countries to prioritise annual revaccination.
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