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Pfizer Chief Bourlas Sees COVID-19 Vaccine Coming by Autumn

With the world hoping for the end of the COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic, a vaccine that could prevent a return could be ready as soon as October, said Albert Bourlas, head of the pharmaceutical giant Pfizer.

In an interview with Kathimerini, he said the company has a budget of 2 billion euros ($2.25 billion for the research that will lead to the discovery of the vaccine and the creation of antiviral drugs.

Bourlas, a Greek who has lived in New York the past few years and talks regularly with US President Donald Trump about the health crisis, grew up in Thessaloniki, went to a public school, and was graduated from the Aristotle Veterinary Veterinary School. 

From February 2016 to December 2017, he was Group President of Pfizer Innovative Health, which comprised the Consumer Healthcare, Inflammation & Immunology, Internal Medicine, Oncology, Rare Disease and Vaccines business groups. 

He is a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine and holds a Ph.D. in the Biotechnology of Reproduction from the Veterinary School of Aristotle University. This year, he was ranked as America’s top CEO in the Pharmaceuticals sector by the Institutional Investor magazine.

Early in May, Greece was among dozens of nations which offered to help bankroll research into new treatments and a vaccination against COVID-19, he deadly novel pledging 3 million ($3.38 million) euros to the cause during a fundraising event.

The Coronavirus Global response tele-marathon was organized by the European Union, non-EU states Britain and Norway, as well as Japan, Canada and Saudi Arabia, among others, and raised initial pledges worth 7.4 billion euros ($8.33 billion) in total.

Governments aim to raise funds over several weeks or months, building on efforts by the World Bank, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and wealthy individuals – hoping to turn the page on the haphazard initial response around the world, the news agency Reuters said.

“The world has shown it is standing closer together than ever before,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said.

“We have been relatively successful in ‘flattening the curve,’ but we all know that we will not be completely safe unless a vaccination is discovered,” Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said in comments.

“I gladly offer 3 million euros to our joint effort, on top of the Greek institutions and private foundations that have already made significant contributions to the fight against Covid-19 and will also actively contribute to this global call,” he added.

The EU pledged 1 billion euros ($1.13 billion) and Germany contributed over 500 million euros. The United States, which has the world’s most confirmed cases of the Covid-19 disease, didn't take part, Reuters reported.

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