Pfizer says pandemic could extend to 2023 and studies third dose for children

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Pfizer logo outside the company building in New York

By Clara-Layla Laudette and Conor Humphries

MADRID/DUBLIN (Reuters) – Pfizer said on Friday that the Covid-19 pandemic could spread over the next year and announced plans to develop a three-dose vaccine regimen for children and adolescents aged 2 to 16.

The US lab made the comments as European countries prepare for new social and travel restrictions, and comes after a study warned that the faster-spreading micron version of the coronavirus was five times more likely to re-infect people than its predecessor Delta. times more likely.

Pfizer officials said the company believes the disease should become endemic around the world by 2024, meaning it will no longer be a pandemic. The company estimated that “Covid will turn into a potentially endemic state by 2024.”

Prior to the Micron edition, US expert Anthony Fauci predicted that the pandemic would end in the United States in 2022.

Pfizer Chief Scientific Officer Mikel Dolston said in a conference call announcing plans to develop a three-dose vaccine regimen for ages 2 to 16 that the results of three-dose vaccines in people over the age of 16 It has been shown that this measure provides greater protection.

“Therefore, we decided to modify each pediatric study to include a third dose in the series and seek authorization for a three-dose series instead of a two-dose series,” the company said.

Pfizer developed its own COVID-19 vaccine with German BioNtech. The companies are developing a version of their vaccine to fight the micron version, but haven’t decided whether it will be needed. Pfizer officials said they expect to begin clinical trials for the updated vaccine in January.

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The risk of reinfection with the micron variant is 5.4 times higher and shows no signs of being milder than with the delta variant, found a study by Imperial College London, as cases continue to rise across Europe And year-end festivities are in danger.

Imperial College said a previous infection could provide up to 19% protection against re-infection with the new version, noting that a study of hundreds of thousands of cases, including 1,846 confirmed as micron, has not yet been peer-reviewed. has gone.

The new findings may add urgency to countries’ efforts to accelerate booster vaccination campaigns to try to ease the pressure on hospitals and health systems. So far, there has been no major jump in hospitalizations or deaths as a result of an increase in infections in the UK and elsewhere in Europe.

Uncertainty about the impact Micron will have on the global economic recovery was reflected in the different paths taken by major central banks this week.

Germany, Ireland, Switzerland and Denmark were adopting new travel restrictions following in the footsteps of France, which this week closed its borders to most non-resident Britons.

Since the coronavirus first emerged in Wuhan, China, nearly two years ago, more than 5 million people have died of COVID-19 and more than 272 million cases have been reported worldwide.

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About the author: Muhammad Wayne

Wayne is a reporter who covers everything from oil trading to China's biggest conglomerates and technology companies. Originally from Chicago, he is a graduate of New York University's business and economic reporting program.

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