Former Food and Drug Administration (FDA) commissioner and current Pfizer board member Scott Gottlieb said he believes the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States could be over by January 2022.
“I think the bottom line though is that these mandates that are going to be put in place by Jan. 4 really are coming on the tail end of this pandemic,” Gottlieb said Friday on CNBC, referring to President Joe Biden’s deadline for a vaccine requirement or weekly testing for numerous private businesses.
Gottlieb added that “by Jan. 4, this pandemic may well be over at least as it relates to the United States after we get through this Delta wave of infection. And we’ll be in more of an endemic phase of this virus.” The former Trump-era FDA commissioner was referring to the Delta variant of COVID-19, which is caused by the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus.
He also pointed to treatments, including a pill from his company, Pfizer, that the firm recently announced can reduce the hospitalization rate from COVID-19 by 89 percent.
“Once we get through this Delta wave of infection over the course of the next two months, I think that this therapeutic and the other innovations that we’ve seen coming to market really mark the end of the pandemic in the United States,” Gottlieb said. “We need to think about how we put that victory sign on the side of the White House.”
The United Kingdom this week became the first nation to approve fellow pharmaceutical giant Merck’s COVID-19 treatment pill.
Britain’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency recommended the drug, molnupiravir, for use in people with mild to moderate COVID-19 and at least one risk factor for developing severe illness, such as obesity, older age diabetes, and heart disease.
It will be administered as soon as possible following a positive COVID-19 test and within five days of the onset of symptoms, the regulator said, citing clinical data.
Treatments to tackle the pandemic have so far focused mainly on vaccines, although a number of studies have shown that vaccines do not prevent the spread of the virus altogether. Other options, including Gileadi’s infused antiviral remdesivir and generic steroid dexamethasone, are generally only given after a patient has been hospitalized.
On Thursday and Friday, about a dozen states, companies, and other organizations filed lawsuits against President Joe Biden’s order that all employers have until Jan. 4 to mandate their workers get vaccinated or submit to weekly testing—as well as an order for federal contractors to mandate shots by the same date.
Reuters contributed to this report.