The revelation was made by European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, Stella Kyriakides, at the press conference following the informal meeting of ministers of European Union (EU) Member States responsible for Health, under the Portuguese Presidency of the Council of the EU, in which she argued that the fight against the pandemic cannot focus solely on vaccines and that it is necessary to ensure more responses to infection by SARS-CoV-2.

"The medium-term future and the next steps are also about ensuring that those who fall ill or suffer long-term consequences of Covid-19 can be treated. And that is why we have launched the therapeutic strategy for Covid-19, which will develop and authorise three new drugs that are effective and can change the course of the disease around October," she said.

Stella Kyriakides stressed that "the virus will continue" in the community and that this circumstance requires the development of "other safe therapies" for European citizens.

In addition, the European official assumed that the reinforcement of vaccine purchases for the coming years, already embodied in the contract signed with Pfizer/BioNtech for the supply of 1.8 billion additional doses until 2023, reflects the possibility that subsequent doses will be needed to maintain protection against the virus.

"It is true that at some point in the future we may need vaccine dose boosters to prolong immunity and to develop vaccines that are adapted to new variants. And we will have to have them in advance and in sufficient quantities," he noted, adding: "We have to be prepared for these challenges, but in addition we also have the therapeutic strategy."

The European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety also emphasised the positive evolution of the epidemiological situation in the EU in the last month, with a 39 percent reduction of cases since mid-April, as well as the acceleration of the vaccination process.

"40 percent of the European adult population has already received at least one dose of vaccine and 17 percent is fully vaccinated. More than 20 million vaccinations are taking place every week in the EU, up from a few hundred thousand a week in January. And this number will continue to rise as production and distribution accelerates, so we can look to the future with greater confidence and cautious optimism for the summer," he noted.