A day after Moderna CEO Stephane Bancel said the existing COVID-19 vaccine might be “materially” less effective against Omicron, Dr Scott Gottlieb says there’s no reason to believe that vaccines will lose efficacy against the new variant.
Highlights from Dr Gottlieb’s interview on CNBC’s ‘Squawk Box’
On CNBC’s “Squawk Box”, Dr Gottlieb agreed that Bancel must have been looking at some data but reiterated that Pfizer Inc, where he sits on the board, is reasonably confident that its vaccine will offer “meaningful” protection against the new variant of concern.
There’s a high degree of confidence based on modelling, simulation, and expertise that efficacy will be preserved against Omicron, especially after the 3rd dose when you get a broad antibody response. Will it be the same 95%? Perhaps not. But you’ll still have a meaningful amount of efficacy. We’re not going to lose vaccines.
According to the former FDA commissioner, it’s “inevitable” that Omicron will find its way into the United States but is not convinced that it will outcompete Delta in terms of transmissibility, resistance, or virulence.
Monoclonal antibiotics should be used more broadly
Dr Gottlieb also called for the need of using the monoclonal antibiotics “more aggressively” as a preventative tool to help the 3 million Americans that are immunocompromised.
The immunocompromised people have become prisoners in their home. The monoclonal antibiotics could provide protection and confidence for them to live a more normal life. We should be using these drugs more broadly. It’s been a tragic mistake of this crisis that we haven’t used these more aggressively.
The U.S. FDA approved monoclonal antibodies for the treatment of COVID-19 only last month. The emergency use authorisation was issued to Regeneron Pharmaceuticals.