Pfizer is aiming to have a COVID-19 vaccine that specifically targets the Omicron variant to be ready in March, the chief executive officer (CEO) said on Jan. 10.
Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla told CNBC’s “Squawk Box” that his company has already started manufacturing a new version of its COVID-19 vaccine to provide protection against the new highly contagious variant that has been fueling a recent surge of cases in several countries.
Bourla added that the vaccine will also target other circulating variants.
Bourla said Pfizer would have the vaccine doses ready in case some countries want them as soon as possible.
However, Bourla acknowledged that it was unclear if a vaccine targeting variants was necessary or how exactly it would be used.
White House Chief Medical Adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci said in December that he does not see the need for an Omicron-specific vaccine because current booster shots work well against the variant.
A Pfizer spokesperson also said to CBS Moneywatch that the pharmaceutical company was also working to improive its existing vaccine formulation, developed with BioNTech, “to address any future variant of potential concern.”
“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 spokesperson further said.
Earlier on Jan. 10, Moderna CEO Stephane Bancel told CNBC that the company was working on an Omicron-specific booster shot for this fall.
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