Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla on Monday disclosed that he has tested positive for COVID-19 and will be going into isolation while he experiences “very mild symptoms.”
Bourla tweeted Monday morning that he had tested positive for COVID-19 despite having received four doses of his company’s COVID-19 vaccine. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) cleared the way for second coronavirus booster doses from Pfizer and Moderna to be administered to those over the age of 50 as well as immunocompromised individuals over the age of 12.
“I am thankful to have received four doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, and I am feeling well while experiencing very mild symptoms. I am isolating and have started a course of Paxlovid,” he wrote.
Paxlovid is one of two COVID-19 antivirals that have been authorized for use by the FDA for the treatment of coronavirus, along with molnupiravir from Merck and Ridgeback.
Bourla, 60, added that he was confident that he would have a “speedy recovery” thanks to efforts that have been made over the past few years to combat the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
“I am incredibly grateful for the tireless efforts of my Pfizer colleagues who worked to make vaccines and treatments available for me and people around the world,” wrote Bourla.
Bourla is the most recent high-profile individual to test positive for COVID-19 while publicly disclosing that he has had four doses of Pfizer’s vaccine. President Biden and his chief medical adviser Anthony Fauci both recently tested positive for the virus despite having received second booster doses.
Like Bourla, both men started rounds of Paxlovid after testing positive and would both later experience “Paxlovid rebound,” which is when an individual tests positive again after initially testing negative for the virus shortly after finishing a round of antivirals. A similar phenomenon has been observed among those who use molnupiravir.
Following FDA authorization guidelines, Bourla will likely follow through with two daily doses of Paxlovid over the course of five days. Physicians are not currently permitted to prescribe longer courses as the drug is not fully approved by the FDA, with some public health experts calling for longer courses to be looked into and allowed in order to prevent rebound.
Bourla’s COVID-19 infection occurs as the BA.5 omicron subvariant now dominates the U.S., accounting for nearly 90 percent of current cases, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The subvariant is believed to be more capable of evading protection offered by immunization and prior infection, though current vaccines are still believed to be effective at preventing severe cases, hospitalizations and deaths.