Novartis CEO says Covid is turning into endemic and requires higher pandemic preparedness
Novartis announced in August that it plans to spin off its generics business, Sandoz, to sharpen its focus on its patented prescription drugs.
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The chief executive of Swiss pharmaceutical giant Novartis on Thursday warned that the coronavirus pandemic is likely to enter an endemic phase and again urged policymakers to provide adequate funding to prepare for a pandemic.
“If you look at the last two years we have populations that have built up immunity, you have a virus that keeps changing but I think we’re going to be more of an endemic environment in terms of coronavirus and the Covid specifically virus,” Novartis CEO Vas Narasimhan told CNBC at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
“That means we’re going to have sporadic outbreaks, we’re going to have vulnerable populations that still need to be vaccinated, but I would expect the human population to adapt as has been the case for other coronaviruses over the past few centuries of a species.” Dissolution with this virus.”
Narasimhan, who previously warned that future pandemics will be inevitable, made it clear that world leaders need to learn from the coronavirus crisis in order to be better prepared for future pandemics.
“I think what’s really important now is that we turn our attention to pandemic preparedness going forward,” Narasimhan said.
“I’m not sure we’ve learned our lessons from the past that we need to invest in [research and development]we need to invest more in preparedness to be prepared for the next pandemic – and I think that should be on the global agenda,” he added.
His comments come shortly after UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned that the world’s failure to prepare for future pandemics is “straining credulity”.
Guterres said at the WEF on Wednesday: “Somehow – after everything we’ve been through – we haven’t learned the global public health lessons from the pandemic. We are nowhere near ready for the coming pandemics.”
Last month, China abruptly ended most Covid-19 controls, prompting a spike in infections among its population of 1.4 billion.
Beijing reported on Saturday that nearly 60,000 people with Covid had died in hospital since the country lifted its tough Covid restrictions last month, a sharp rise from previous figures.
When asked if it makes pharmacological sense for some governments to take a hard line on Chinese citizens entering their country after Beijing’s reopening, Narasimhan replied, “I think from an epidemiological point of view, you can certainly question that, because in the end.” We’ve learned the hard way that these viruses will move anyway, and they don’t really respect national borders.”
“I continue to believe that open borders and open economies are the right solution for the global order,” he added.