BioNTech CEO says new COVID pills unlikely to dent vaccination uptake

FILE PHOTO: An experimental COVID-19 treatment pill, called molnupiravir and being developed by Merck & Co Inc and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics LP, is seen in this undated handout photo released by Merck & Co Inc and obtained by Reuters on October 26, 2021. Merck & Co Inc/Handout via REUTERS

FRANKFURT (Reuters) – The Chief Executive of COVID-19 vaccine pioneer BioNTech said he does not expect for now that new oral treatments against the viral infection would considerably reduce demand for vaccines.

Oral antiviral pills from Merck & Co and Pfizer Inc have been shown to significantly blunt the worst outcomes of COVID-19.

“I personally don’t believe that it will have a huge impact on the vaccination rate in future but we have to monitor the field,” BioNTech CEO Ugur Sahin told an analyst call on Tuesday, adding that availability of the drugs will play a key role next year and that there was a risk of the virus developing resistance against the treatments over time.

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