Pfizer CEO is 'very confident' the company's oral COVID-19 pill will be effective against the new variant

·2 min read
Albert Bourla CEO of Pfizer 1
Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla.Crystal Cox/Insider
  • Pfizer's CEO said he believed his company's COVID-19 pill would work against the Omicron variant.

  • "I'm very, very confident that this drug works for all known mutations," he told CNBC.

  • Pfizer said the antiviral pill led to a 89% reduction in hospitalizations and deaths in a study.

Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said he believed his company's COVID-19 oral treatment would work in patients diagnosed with the Omicron variant.

"I'm very, very confident that this drug works for all known mutations, including the Omicron one," Bourla said on CNBC's "Squawk Box." "But we are working on other drugs for the eventual case that maybe a resistance is developed."

Bourla said Pfizer designed the pill to work regardless of the virus' mutations. The pill does not attack the virus itself but blocks an enzyme that plays a key role in its copying process, Insider's Andrew Dunn reported.

On November 17, the pharma giant asked the Food and Drug Administration to grant emergency use authorization for its oral antiviral drug to treat mild to moderate cases of COVID-19.

Pfizer said the pill, which the firm will brand as Paxlovid, led to a 89% reduction in hospitalizations and deaths in a study of 774 participants.

Scientists are still unsure of the severity of infections caused by the Omicron variant of COVID-19. Researchers in South Africa first sequenced the Omicron variant. The variant has been identified in Australia, Belgium, Botswana, Britain, Denmark, Germany, Hong Kong, Israel, Italy, the Netherlands, France, Canada, and South Africa, according to Reuters.

Pfizer isn't the only pharmaceutical working on an oral COVID-19 treatment. Merck has asked the FDA to authorize its antiviral pill, which was found in a study to halve the risk of hospitalization or death among adults with mild to moderate symptoms.

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