Pfizer, the international pharmaceuticals giant helmed by Thessaloniki-born Dr. Albert Bourla, made a staggering $36.8 billion on its first-in-the-world coronavirus vaccine last year.
First authorized for emergency use in December of 2020, just nine months after the virus began to shut down the country’s economy, the Pfizer vaccine, which was produced with Germany’s much smaller BioNTech firm, was first administered to healthcare workers later that same month.
Last year was the first full year that Pfizer was able to sell its product for a full calendar year.
Pfizer has biggest-selling pharmaceuticals product in history
As a result of its groundbreaking technology, the pharma giant ended up with the largest selling pharmaceutical product in a single year ever in history.
Experts say that the firm, which is continuing to manufacture and promote its booster shots, will make another $32 billion during this year. Still, the company admitted that its profits were down a bit from projections; with total revenues of $98 to $102 billion, the projected revenues had been $105.5 billion.
Bourla, who is both the Pfizer Chairman and its CEO, recalled the almost unimaginable stress of the past year and a half for the company on Wednesday. “In the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, we committed to use all of the resources and expertise we had at our disposal to help protect populations globally against this deadly virus,” he said.
“We put billions of dollars of capital on the line in pursuit of those goals, not knowing whether those investments would ever pay off. These successes have not only made a positive difference in the world, but I believe they have fundamentally changed Pfizer and its culture forever.”
Axios reports that Pfizer expects to rake in $32 billion in vaccine sales in 2022 as well as $22 billion just from the company’s COVID pill Paxlovid.
Frank D’Amelio, the Pfizer CFO, who is also its Executive Vice President, also stated today “As I prepare to retire as CFO of Pfizer, I am proud to see that the company is performing better than at any other time during my nearly 15 years here.
“Today we are issuing guidance for the coming year which, if achieved, would represent the highest level of annual revenues and Adjusted diluted EPS(3) in Pfizer’s long history.
“I have never been more confident in the future of Pfizer.”
Meanwhile, a recent study showed that one single nasal droplet is enough to spread the coronavirus to others — prompting a belief that there will be a market for future boosters or other targeted vaccines, as well as treatment like the pills that are now on the market.
A recent trial in which volunteers were given a dose of the coronavirus was the first to monitor subjects during their entire course of infection showed that lateral flow tests are indeed a reliable indicator of whether or not the virus is present.
Healthy volunteers who were intentionally given the coronavirus were found to have symptoms that developed and progressed quickly — sometimes within two days of first coming into contact with the virus.
New study shows many able to successfully fight off virus despite contact with it
The study also indicated that people are at their most infectious point five days into their illness.
Although the study used a strain of the virus that was extant before the explosion of the Alpha, Delta and Omicron variants, its chief investigator, Prof Christopher Chiu, of Imperial College London, was pleased with the findings.
“Our study reveals some very interesting clinical insights, particularly around the short incubation period of the virus, extremely high viral shedding from the nose, as well as the utility of lateral flow tests, with potential implications for public health,” Chiu stated.
The study’s findings, which were published on the pre-print server for Springer Nature, and which, like nearly all other new research, have not yet been peer-reviewed, shows the results after 36 young, healthy participants with no previous immunity to Covid-19 were intentionally exposed to it.
None of the volunteers, who were monitored at the Royal Free hospital in London, experienced severe symptoms.
The researchers found that the coronavirus infection first appeared in the throat; by the time the virus’ contagiousness peaks approximately five days after infection, the nose carried a much higher viral load than did the throat.
Reassuring the public that their at-home, rapid tests do in fact work as they are intended, the study suggested that these lateral flow tests are indeed a reliable indicator of the virus. It also showed that swabbing the nose and throat makes it more likely that infections can be detected during the crucial first few days, before the sufferer can spread it to yet more people.
Chiu stated “We found that overall, lateral flow tests correlate very well with the presence of infectious virus. Even though in the first day or two they may be less sensitive, if you use them correctly and repeatedly, and act on them if they read positive, this will have a major impact on interrupting viral spread.”
Viral load may be the same for symptomatic, asymptomatic carriers
Showing just how easily the virus can be spread by those who feel perfectly healthy, the study indicated that of the 18 individuals who were infected, all carried similar viral loads regardless of whether or not they even developed symptoms at all.
Professor Wendy Barclay, the head of infectious disease department at Imperial College London, emphasized the importance of this finding, stating “A lot of people could be walking around shedding virus and not realising. It’s really marked with this virus.”
Also confirming what many have suspected all along, some people are able to successfully fight off the infection without any intervention at all. Some of the study’s subjects who did not meet the threshold for being considered infected showed very low levels of the virus that was nevertheless detectable in their noses and throats.
This suggested to the researchers that they may have experienced a very short-lived infection that was successfully fought off by immune activity taking place in the lining of the nose and throat.
The London team is expected to publish subsequent findings from the study, which may provide even more insight into the critical earliest phase of the immune response to the virus, during even the very first hours and days after encountering it, The Guardian reports.
The study’s findings may help researchers develop the next generation of vaccines from Pfizer and other pharmaceuticals firms, along with antiviral drugs and other treatments, as Phase 3 studies become harder to execute since there is such a great amount of the virus in society at this point.
The researchers say that such challenge studies are much quicker and require just a few individuals to reach the necessary conclusions.
Professor Sir Jonathan Van-Tam, the deputy chief medical officer for England, states “Scientifically, these studies offer real advantage because the timing of exposure to the virus is always known exactly, therefore things like the interval between exposure and the profile of virus shedding can be accurately described.
“This important study has provided further key data on Covid-19 and how it spreads, which is invaluable in learning more about this novel virus, so we can fine-tune our response.”