“Winter is coming” – could it fuel another surge in COVID-19 cases in the United States?
Morgan Stanley’s biotech analyst Matthew Harrison thinks so. But on a more positive note, he expects this to be the last “substantial increase” in the U.S.
Harrison’s remarks on CNBC’s “Worldwide Exchange”
Harrison expects the pandemic to end in the back half of 2022. On CNBC’s “Worldwide Exchange”, he said:
Our view has always been that we need to get to the second half of 2022 to end the pandemic globally. Assuming no other variants, I think that could be a reasonable conclusion.
The biotech analyst gave the due credit to Merck & Co Inc (NYSE: MRK) for its oral COVID-19 pill that is yet to secure approval but reiterated that the “only way” to end the pandemic is to get “as many people vaccinated as possible”.
Merck is just one piece in the available treatment. For healthy young people, oral antivirals could be very good if you get infected or a breakthrough infection. But there’s still a lot of other people that are at risk. So, those at higher risk may need antibodies.
Pfizer and Atea Pharma are also testing oral COVID-19 pills
Other than Merck, Pfizer and Atea Pharmaceuticals are also running Phase III trials for their respective candidate oral COVID-19 drug and are likely to report the results before the end of the year.
Harrison, who has an “overweight” rating on Atea Pharmaceuticals, expects such treatments in combination with vaccines to put an end to the global pandemic next year.
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