At the minimum, therapeutics are a bridge to those high-volume, high-efficacy vaccines, Novartis CEO Vas Narasimhan has said.
Vaccines alone may not be sufficient to fight COVID-19 and treatment of the illness caused by the coronavirus would also play an important role, Novartis Chief Executive Officer Vas Narasimhan has said.
Adequate supplies of highly effective vaccines might not be available until the end of 2021, Narasimhan told Bloomberg.
"At the minimum, therapeutics are a bridge to those high-volume, high-efficacy vaccines," Narasimhan told the news agency.
Even after a vaccine is available, it might not protect everyone, the CEO of the Swiss drugmaker said.
"Likely even beyond the point of vaccines being broadly deployed, we will need therapeutics for those patients who still become ill from the virus," he added.
The pandemic has triggered a race for the vaccine, with candidates across the world at different stages of clinical trials. Some of the front-runners include experimental vaccines from Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca-Oxford University and Russia's Sputnik-V.
Novartis expects that data from a study on whether anti-inflammation drug canakinumab can help patients with severe COVID-19 will be available by the end of October or early November, Narasimhan said.
Novartis and 15 other drugmakers on September 30 issued a joint pledge with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which includes a commitment to equitable distribution of vaccines and therapies.
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