Pandemic May Continue Till 2024, Says Pfizer Amid Shift Of Vaccine Trial To Three Dose For Under 5 Kids


New Delhi: In a sign that Covid-19 is far from over, Pfizer Inc on Friday predicted that the Covid-19 pandemic would not be behind us until 2024 and informed that a lower-dose version of its vaccine for 2-to 4- Year-olds generated a weaker immune response than expected, potentially delaying authorization.

What are the predictions from Pfizer?

In its latest disclosure, Pfizer chief scientific officer Mikael Dolsten told investors that the company expects some regions to continue to see pandemic levels of Covid-19 cases over the next year or two, according to news agency Reuters.

While other nations will transition to “endemic” with low, manageable caseloads during that same time period. However, the company projected by 2024, the disease should be endemic around the globe. “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.”

Earlier before the Omicron variant became prevalent, top US disease doctor Anthony Fauci forecast the pandemic would end in 2022 in the United States.

The prediction comes after the Omicron variant emerged in November, which has more than 50 mutations compared with the original version of the virus, according to Reuters.

What’s the efficacy of its pediatric vaccine?

The Pfizer vaccine is authorized in the United States for people age five and older. However, the company reveled on Friday that its study in children between the ages of 2 and 4 who were given two 3-microgram doses of the vaccine found that it did not create the same immune response that a larger dose of the vaccine had in older children.

The 3-microgram dose did generate a similar immune response in children aged 6 to 24 months, the company said.

The company will aims to test a three-dose course in both age groups including older children. Although it was expecting data from 2- to 4-year-olds this year, but did not expect that the delay would meaningfully change plans to file for emergency use authorization in the second quarter of 2022.

Pfizer and BioNTech are also working on a version of their vaccine tailored to combat the quick-spreading Omicron variant, although they have not decided whether it will be needed. The company aims to start a clinical trial for the updated vaccine in January, Pfizer executives said.

The highly-transmissible Omicron variant of the coronavirus has been detected in over 77 countries and has spread to about one-third of US states.

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