Pfizer executives say COVID-19 could become endemic by 2024

Pfizer executives say COVID-19 could become endemic by 2024

Alejandro Brown receives a Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine from a health professional at a tour site in Tropical Park on December 16, 2021 in Miami, Florida.

Joe Riddell | Getty Images

Pfizer executives said Friday that Covid will become an endemic disease as early as 2024, meaning the virus will go from a global emergency to a permanent presence causing regional outbreaks around the world — much like the flu.

“We believe Covid will transition to an endemic state by 2024,” Nanette Kocheru, global head of Pfizer Vaccines, said during a meeting with investors on Friday.

Covid-19 can reach endemic levels when the population has sufficient immunity to vaccines or previous infections to control transmissions, hospitalizations and deaths, even as the virus spreads.

“Exactly when and how this happens will depend on disease development, how effectively vaccines and treatments are deployed by the community, and the equitable distribution of places where vaccination rates are low,” said Michael Dolstein, chief scientific officer at Pfizer. . “The emergence of new variables may also affect how the epidemic continues to spread.”

The timing of Covid’s transition to an endemic state can vary from place to place, according to Dolsten.

“It appears that in the next two years, some areas will turn into an endemic model, while others will have an epidemiological situation,” Dolstein said.

Comments from Pfizer executives come as: The United States is battling a wave of Covid cases led by a delta variant, as the Omicron strain spreads rapidly. The average seven-day number of new hospital admissions for Covid was up 4% from the previous week, Rochelle Walinsky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said Friday.

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Angela Huang, group president of Pfizer’s biopharmaceutical company, said vaccinations and Covid treatments such as oral antiviral pills may make the disease more common as the disease spreads.

Cucchero said that Pfizer expects states to prioritize annual revaccination.

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