AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine surpassed expectations and performed well in a U.S. clinical trial, Blomberg reports.
Why It Matters: “The findings should bolster confidence in the vaccine after confusion over its efficacy and the best dosing regimen slowed take-up. The product is at the center of a supply showdown with the European Union just days after concerns about blood clots prompted a dozen member states to suspend immunizations. Even after the European Medicines Agency declared it safe last Thursday, not all EU countries have resumed vaccinations.”
The Results: The shot, which was co-developed with the University of Oxford, was found to be 79% effective in preventing Covid-19. There were no safety concerns and all immunized in the more than 30,000 person trial were protected from severe disease and death.
The Reaction: Shares of AstraZeneca improved by as much as 1.4% on the London Stock Exchange. It now plans to submit the data to U.S. regulators over the next few weeks and seek an emergency-use authorization.
Back-Up Here: The hesitancy and skepticism all started when this vaccine came back with discrepancies in its initial data, offering two different readings (62% and 90%) of efficacy. A manufacturing error caused one group of participants to receive a lower dose (which gave the higher reading compared to the standard two doses). Further research “suggested it was the greater dosing gap rather than the amount that had created the difference.”
What’s Next: At this point, more than 70 countries have given the A-OK on the AstraZeneca shot. AstraZeneca and Oxford have plans to produce three billion doses this year.
- This shot could be a game-changer as it’s logistically much easier to manage. The AstraZeneca shot can be stored at fridge temperatures while the Pfizer and Moderna ones have to be frozen. AstraZeneca is also providing the vaccine at no profit during the crisis.
An approval of AstraZeneca’s ($AZN) Covid-19 vaccine would mark the fourth approved vaccine available in the U.S., which gives hope for a speedier recovery. I am seeing accelerated timelines of when people can get the vaccine so it isn’t crazy to me to think that most of the (willing) U.S. population could be vaccinated by mid-summer.
I am very interested in how behaviors will trend “back to normal” or if certain pandemic, stay-at-home trends are here to stay. That will hugely affect a large swath of stocks ranging from movie theaters to ecommerce companies.