Hey Global Investor, here’s what you need to know before the US markets open.
Market Snapshot 📈
S&P 500 (Tuesday Close) 3,545.53 −4.97 (0.14%)
NASDAQ (Tuesday Close) 11,553.86 −159.93 (1.37%)
FTSE 100 (5 PM IST) 6333.73 +36.88 (0.58%)
NIFTY 50 (Today’s Close) 12,749.15 +118.05 (0.93%)
USDINR (5 PM IST) 74.24 (1 Year +3.8%)
Covid-19 Vaccine – We’re There, Aren’t We?
Pfizer and BioNTech claim their COVID-19 vaccine, a two-dose schedule, is 90% effective.
Background: The world first heard of a deadly virus in Wuhan about eleven months back. Since then, the world has seen a lockdown, a first wave, entire economies beaten down, as well as a second wave that’s currently doing rounds. At long last, there was some good news this week, when pharmaceutical giant Pfizer and its German partner, BioNTech, announced preliminary results that showed their vaccine candidate was over 90% effective.
Hope sprang and lifted stock markets and public spirits alike. As Red says in The Shawshank Redemption, “Hope is a dangerous thing.” The vaccine news is still early and much remains unknown about how well it works. Let’s take stock of what we know and don’t know about the vaccine.
What Happened? In the late-stage clinical trial involving 44,000 participants, 50% received the vaccine, and the remaining received saltwater placebo. 94 participants reported Covid-19 infection. Initial analysis from an independent board of experts suggests 90% effectiveness for the vaccine. The FDA has set a 50% efficiency for vaccine makers wanting emergency authorization. If the trial results hold in the real world, it is a good result.
Is the Pfizer vaccine safe?
The million-dollar question. So far, there are no reported serious concerns for this vaccine. If the vaccine receives emergency authorization, the FDA and CDC will closely monitor people for the smallest safety issues.
When will we get the vaccine?.
Pfizer expects to produce 30M to 40M doses before the year-end, and can ramp up production to 1.3B doses a year.
When will we “really” get it?
Once Pfizer requests emergency authorization later this month, it might be ready for administering to front-line Covid warriors by the year-end. That too only if there are no unforeseen delays.
What are the challenges?
Pfizer’s vaccine, which uses the messenger-RNA technology, has a short shelf life (~5 days) at normal refrigeration temperatures. It needs to be stored at -70°C to transport around the world, which is a huge logistical and distribution challenge. Building these super-cooled warehouses is cost-prohibitive. What that means for poorer economies and rural parts of the world is anyone’s guess.
Are there other vaccines in the pipeline?
There are ten other vaccines in late-stage trials around the world using different technologies.
Should we stop wearing masks now?
Please don’t. Public health experts believe an effective vaccine will only be accessible to the general public late next year. So, even if the news is encouraging, it doesn’t replace hygienic measures.
Market Reaction: Pfizer closed at $38.68, down 1.33%. On the other hand, BioNTech closed at $112.76, up 7.60%.
Company Snapshot 📈
PFE $38.68 -0.52 (1.33%)
BNTX $112.76 +7.96 (+7.60%)
- Self-sufficient: Apple launches MacBook laptops powered by its own computing chips (AAPL -0.28%)
- First Ones: Honda says will be first to mass produce level 3 autonomous cars (HMC +1.85%)
- Coming Back Strong: Alibaba boasts $56 billion sales as post-virus Singles’ Day gets into full swing (BABA -8.26%)
Later Today 🕒
- After Market Close: Reynolds Consumer Products Inc Earnings (REYN)
Fun Fact of The Day 🌞
Saudi Arabia has no rivers.