Pfizer will have a COVID-19 vaccine that specifically targets the Omicron variant ready by March, the pharmaceutical company's Chief Executive Officer Albert Bourla said on Monday.
He told CNBC that Pfizer has started manufacturing doses due to the urgent threat of the Omicron variant and keen interest from governments.
A vaccine targetted directly on the Omicron variant would guard against infections of a strain that has proven highly contagious, but has also resulted in many mild or asymptomatic cases.
Pfizer said it is working to improve its existing vaccine formulation, developed jointly with Germany's BioNTech.
"This vaccine will be ready in March," Bourla told the network. "I don't know if we will need it. I don't know if and how it will be used."
"In the event that a third dose with the current vaccine is not found to protect against the Omicron variant or other future variants, Pfizer expects to be able to develop and produce a tailor-made vaccine against that variant in approximately 100 days, subject to regulatory approval," the company had previously said in a statement.
Moderna CEO Stephane Bancel, in another interview said the company is developing a booster that could address not just Omicron but also other emerging strains in fall 2022. He said that they are discussing with public health leaders around the world to decide what they think is the best strategy for a potential booster for the fall of 2022.
Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel said at Goldman Sachs' Healthcare CEO Conference last week that he expects protection from the booster against Omicron to wane. "I would expect that it's not going to hold great," he said, referring to the efficacy of a third vaccine dose over time.
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