New Delhi: American vaccine manufacturer and biotechnology company Pfizer has said that a vaccine against the Omicron variant of Coronavirus will be ready in March and the company has already begun manufacturing the doses.
In an interview with CNBC, Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said that the company has begun manufacturing doses due to the keenness of the US government and the rising number of ‘breakthrough’ cases in the country.
“This vaccine will be ready in March,” Bourla told CNBC. “We [are] already starting manufacturing some of these quantities at risk.”
Bourla also said that it is still unclear whether vaccine against Omicron variant is needed and how it will be used, but the company has decided to go ahead with the production of these doses as many countries want them as soon as possible.
He added that the vaccine will also target other variants that have been a cause of concern for various nations.
“The hope is that we will achieve something that will have way, way better protection particularly against infections, because the protection against the hospitalizations and the severe disease — it is reasonable right now, with the current vaccines as long as you are having let’s say the third dose,” Bourla said.
The highly contagious variant was first discovered in southern Africa in late November and since has become the dominant variant and is responsible in the EU and many other nations for an unprecedented increase in infections.
On Monday, Israel reported 21,514 new cases, another all-time high. The number of serious cases crept up to 222, a figure that remains well below the highs experienced during previous waves of the coronavirus. But the country has begun administering the fourth dose of COVID-19 vaccine for people above 60 or with compromised immunity.
On Jan 9, the UK also crossed another grim COVID-19 milestone after recording 150,000 deaths since the pandemic hit the country in 2020, even as the Omicron variant surge continues with a further 146,390 daily infections and 313 deaths on Saturday.
In Asia, China on Sunday scampered to test 14 million residents of Tianjin as the port city near the capital has set off alarm bells ahead of the next month’s Beijing Winter Olympics by reporting a cluster of COVID-19 cases, including two with the dreaded Omicron variant.
(With Inputs from PTI)