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Pfizer CEO: Omicron Looks More Contagious, Less Dangerous

'I don’t think it’s good news to have something that spreads fast,' he said. 'Spreads fast means that it will be in billions of people.'
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Pfizer  (PFE) - Get Pfizer Inc. Report CEO Albert Bourla said Tuesday that the omicron Covid strain appears to be more contagious than other strains but less dangerous in causing severe symptoms.

“I don’t think it’s good news to have something that spreads fast,” he said at a Wall Street Journal CEO conference, the paper reported. “Spreads fast means that it will be in billions of people, and another mutation may come. You don’t want that.”

Pfizer is researching whether its Covid vaccine is less effective against the Omicron variant than others and hopes to know more in coming weeks, he said.

Bourla said he hopes the Food and Drug Administration authorizes Pfizer’s Covid treatment pill Paxlovid this month. Trial data showed the drug is 89% effective at cutting the risk of hospitalization and death.

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Pfizer shares on Tuesday traded at $51.30, down 0.35%. But they have jumped 39% year to date amid optimism about the company’s Covid medication, particularly its vaccine.

Morningstar analyst Damien Conover likes Pfizer, giving it a wide moat. But he thinks it’s a bit overvalued.

“Pfizer’s announced $5.3 billion supply deal with the U.S. government for COVID-19 treatment Paxlovid combined with likely additional deals increases our fair value estimate to $45.50 from $44,” he wrote last month.

Overall, “Pfizer's foundation remains solid, based on strong cash flows generated from a basket of diverse drugs,” Conover said.

“The company's large size confers significant competitive advantages in developing new drugs. This unmatched heft, combined with a broad portfolio of patent-protected drugs, has helped Pfizer build a wide economic moat around its business,” he said.