Public health – The virus will be there for a long time to come, according to the boss of Novartis

For Vas Narasimhan, the coronavirus pandemic will last again this year and probably a good part of next year.

According to Novartis boss Vas Narasimhan, it is now clear that the pandemic will last for another year and probably a good part of next year (archive).

Keystone/PATRICK STRAUB

Novartis director Vas Narasimhan does not expect a turning point in the fight against the coronavirus in the near future. The world will have to live with the virus for a long time to come, he says in an interview with the German-speaking daily “The New Zurich Times».

Last spring there was a brief moment of hope, explains Vas Narasimhan. At that time, it was thought to be just one wave of infections. But it is now clear that the pandemic will continue this year and possibly a good part of next year.

“The question is to know when we will have the vaccine and the treatments that will allow the world to live with the virus”, continues the director of the Basel pharmaceutical group. “We don’t expect the virus to suddenly go away or that enough people will be immune.”

No involvement

Vas Narasimhan acknowledges that Novartis could do more to research new compounds. He himself headed the development unit of the Vaccines Division until 2014, when Novartis sold it.

A return to this activity, despite the need for vaccines against Covid-19 and other potential new viral diseases, is out of the question, however, he assures. Now that Novartis no longer has its own know-how, such an effort would prove very difficult.

ATS / NXP

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