Bourla said he expects the number of confirmed covid-19 cases to surge from dozens to millions over the next few weeks.
“We will have a good understanding, let’s say before the year-end, as to what exactly it means for clinical manifestation,” Bourla said.
Omicron found its way to more than 40 countries in less than two weeks after it was first reported to the World Health Organization (WHO) Nov. 24.
Bourla stressed that more work must be done to understand omicron better. Pfizer is currently looking into whether or not covid-19 vaccines are less effective against the new variant.
It will take a few weeks to determine whether the current vaccines provide enough protection against the variant, according to Bourla.
“I don’t think it’s good news to have something that spreads fast. Spreads fast means it will be in billions of people and another mutation may come. You don’t want that,” Bourla said.
Pfizer is confident that its oral antiviral medication, Paxlovid, will fight omicron and every other variant of the virus that has emerged so far, according to Bourla. The pill inhibits an enzyme the virus needs to replicate, known as protease.
“Thus far, it does not look like there’s a great degree of severity to it. But we have really got to be careful before we make any determinations that it is less severe or it really doesn’t cause any severe illness,” siad Dr. Anthony Fauci, President Joe Biden’s chief medical adviser, earlier in December.
Bourla said he does not expect the total elimination of covid-19 any time soon. But he noted that the public will start to view the virus like the seasonal flu as more get vaccinated and more powerful treatments come to the market.
He said there is a need to overcome “the small problem of getting politics out of the equation” and more people need to get vaccinated, adding that society will never reach 100-percent vaccination.
“That’s why treatments unfortunately will be needed. But we can live normal lives. ‘Normal lives’ means that you can go to restaurants and don’t need to wear masks and suffocate every day,” he said.
Listen to GHOGH with Jamarlin Martin | Episode 74: Jamarlin Martin Jamarlin returns for a new season of the GHOGH podcast to discuss Bitcoin, bubbles, and Biden. He talks about the risk factors for Bitcoin as an investment asset including origin risk, speculative market structure, regulatory, and environment. Are broader financial markets in a massive speculative bubble?