Pandemic Could Extend To 2024, Pfizer Says

On Friday, Pfizer Inc stated that the authorization for a lower-dose version of its vaccine, which is expected to generate a weaker immune response in 4-year-olds compared to 2-year-olds, would not be behind us until 2024, as forecasted for the COVID-19 pandemic.

During that identical time frame, additional nations will shift to “endemic” with low, controllable caseloads. In a presentation to investors, Pfizer Chief Scientific Officer Mikael Dolsten stated that the company anticipates certain regions to persistently observe pandemic levels of COVID-19 cases for the next one to two years.

By 2024, the illness is expected to be widespread worldwide, the corporation projected.

Dolsten expressed, “The rise of fresh variations may also influence the way the pandemic unfolds.” Dolsten mentioned, “The timing and method by which this occurs will rely on the development of the illness, the efficiency with which society utilizes vaccines and treatments, and the fair allocation to regions with low vaccination rates.”

In the upcoming year, Pfizer intends to manufacture 4 billion doses. It anticipates that its COVID-19 vaccine, created in collaboration with Germany’s BioNTech SE, will yield a revenue of $31 billion.

During a clinical study, the pharmaceutical company also possesses a trial antiviral tablet named Paxlovid, which diminished hospitalizations and fatalities in individuals at high risk by approximately 90%.

Based on IBES data obtained from Refinitiv, three analysts anticipate that the sales for the upcoming year will vary between $15 billion and $25 billion.

Pfizer’s forecast came after the emergence of the omicron variant last month, which has more than 50 mutations compared to the original version of the virus and has reduced the effectiveness of the vaccine against the rapid spread of fear and infection globally.

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Prior to the omicron variant, top U.S. Disease doctor Anthony Fauci forecast the pandemic would end in 2022 in the United States.

Pediatric vaccine.

The Pfizer vaccine has been authorized for individuals aged 5 and older in the United States. However, a study conducted on children between the ages of 2 and 4, who were given two doses of the vaccine at 3 micrograms each, found that it did not produce the same immune response as in older children.

The company stated that the postponement would not significantly alter its plans to seek emergency use authorization in the second quarter of 2022. Initially, the company had anticipated receiving data from children aged 2 to 4 years this year. However, it has now decided to conduct trials on a three-dose regimen for both age groups, as well as for older children. The company also reported that the 3-microgram dosage elicited a comparable immune response in children between the ages of 6 and 24 months.

The executives at Pfizer said they expect to start a clinical trial for the updated vaccine in January. Although they have not decided whether it will be needed, they have also been developing a version of their vaccine tailored to combat the quick-spreading omicron variant, along with BioNTech.

If necessary, shots specifically tailored for variants could potentially enhance sales in 2022. The highly transmissible omicron variant of the coronavirus has been identified.

Early data suggests that three doses of the shot may be necessary to protect against the variant omicron. Pfizer has said that immunity wanes after the second dose, but the vaccine was still around 95% effective in the clinical trial for adults. The vaccine has spread to about one-third of the U.S. States and has infected people in over 77 countries.

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