Pfizer CEO downplays monkeypox outbreak fears: ‘I wouldn’t worry much’

Pfizer CEO downplays monkeypox outbreak fears: ‘I wouldn’t worry much’

Pfizer boss Albert Bourla said he isn’t yet concerned about a widening monkeypox outbreak after confirmation of the first stateside case triggered alarm bells this week.

Bourla, who helmed the pharmaceutical giant throughout its development of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, said Wednesday the monkeypox data he has seen thus far is not cause for panic.

“I don’t have all the information ahead of me. With everything I know, I wouldn’t worry much,” Bourla said during an interview with CNBC at the World Economic Forum in Davos.

“That doesn’t mean that we should relax,” he added. “I think we should monitor where the situation goes.”

Bourla added that monkeypox “clearly doesn’t transmit as much as other viruses including COVID” and that there were “solutions” available if caseloads became more widespread.

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health confirmed Tuesday that an adult man had contracted the disease, cases of which are rare outside of central and West Africa. Officials said the patient was in good condition and that the case “poses no risk to the public.”

Monkeypox virus
The first US case of monkeypox was confirmed in Massachusetts.
REUTERS
Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla
Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said the situation should be monitored closely.
AFP via Getty Images

Nevertheless, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said more than 200 people were being tracked within the state due to their contact with the patient. Symptoms of monkeypox can include unexplained skin rash or lesions, fever and chills.

Suspected monkeypox cases have also been spotted in other states, including California.

Earlier this week, President Biden suggested that the monkeypox outbreak was “something that everybody should be concerned about.”

Monkeypox
Symptoms of monkeypox can include unexplained skin rash or lesions, fever and chills.
Centers for Disease Control and

“We’re working on it hard to figure out what we do and what vaccine, if any, may be available for it,” Biden added. “But it is a concern in the sense that if it were to spread, it’s consequential.”

Earlier this month, Pfizer reported that its first-quarter profits rose 61%, easily outpacing Wall Street’s expectations. The company’s COVID-19 vaccine brought in more than $13 billion in sales in that period alone.

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