Albert Bourla
Albert Bourla Reuters

Pfizer CEO Prof. Albert Bourla estimated in an interview with Channel 12 News on Saturday night that the coronavirus will be with us for another few years.

“I think that the virus will not be eradicated. The virus will be with us for years to come. There was only one virus that was eradicated in the history of humanity and that’s small pox,” Bourla said.

“The other thing is that this virus is having the tendency to create new variants, and this virus also has the tendency to escape immune protection, irrelevant if it comes from vaccines or from natural infections, he added.

At the same time, he noted that “what we have are powerful tools that we never thought we would have a year ago, and I’m talking about vaccines, and I’m talking about treatments…so with that in mind, I think we should be able to come to normal lives.” He stressed there will continue to be “anomalies, such as Omicron… that we will be able to control within a few months.”

“I believe that we will have very effective vaccines against Omicron before there is a new wave. We are working on one, I don’t know if we will have to use it, but we are working on one,” said Bourla. “We will only know if that’s the best solution after we see the data, but we’ll see the data in March, and we know that we’ll be able to produce it massively if we need.”

Friday saw 54,135 new coronavirus cases diagnosed, Israel's Health Ministry said Saturday night, adding that the total number of active cases had reached 442,229.

Meanwhile, nearly 2,000 (1,967) coronavirus patients are hospitalized throughout the country, with 732 of them in serious condition or worse. That number includes 208 whose condition is critical. A total of 146 COVID-19 patients are intubated.

Of the coronavirus test results received Friday, 20.61% were positive, the Ministry added. That is the highest percentage Israel has seen since the start of the pandemic - and it does not include unreported home antigen tests.

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