Ex-FDA commissioner predicts ‘pandemic phase’ of Covid will end in coming months

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The former Food and Drug Administration commissioner says he believes the “pandemic phase” of the coronavirus could end within months.

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Dr Scott Gottlieb said this would be brought about by the vaccine being made available to children and the approval of Merck’s antiviral pill.

He also told CNBC that the situation would be helped by the fact that the delta version of Covid should have “moved through the country” by the end of November.

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“On the back end of that, we hope, there is a vaccine available for children and, at some point before the end of the year, we will probably have an orally available drug from Merck if things go well and He undergoes a favorable review,” said Mr Gottlieb, who now serves on the board of the Covid vaccine manufacturer pfizer.

“I think those two things are going to become the bookkeeping on the pandemic phase of this virus and we’re going to enter a more endemic phase, when it becomes an all-encompassing risk, but doesn’t represent the extreme risk that It represents right now.”

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An FDA advisory panel will meet on October 26 to discuss whether Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine should be expanded to youth ages 5 to 11.

The FDA has already granted a ban for individuals 12 years of age and older, and full approval for anyone over the age of 16.

Last week US pharmaceutical company Merck announced that its antiviral pill reduced the risk of hospitalization or death by 50 percent in trial participants who had mild to moderate cases of COVID-19.

Merck says it will file for emergency use authorization with the FDA “as soon as possible.”

The treatment, which was developed in conjunction with Ridgeback Biotherapeutics, works by introducing genetic errors into the virus and preventing it from being able to replicate itself.

Dr. Gottlieb headed the FDA from 2017 to 2019 during the Trump administration.

The Centers for Disease Control says that currently 76 percent of eligible Americans have received at least one vaccine, and about 66 percent are fully vaccinated.

There have been more than 44 million COVID-19 cases in the US during the pandemic, and more than 707,000 deaths.

Credit: www.independent.co.uk / Food And Drug Administration

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