Vaccine Stocks Skid As FDA Experts Mull Omicron Boosters


A Food and Drug Administration panel of experts will vote Tuesday on whether to recommend omicron Covid boosters from Pfizer (PFE), Moderna (MRNA) and Novavax (NVAX). The vote could rock the vaccine stocks.




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The updated vaccines attempt to control omicron and its lineage of sub-variants. In theory, the vaccines would launch in the fall when officials expect a seasonal burst in Covid cases.

Vaccine Stocks Tackle Omicron

In recent testing, Pfizer said its omicron booster led to a 13.5-19.6 fold increase in antibodies capable of blocking omicron and its spinoffs. A bivalent vaccine — which could target omicron and the first strain — generated a 9.1-10.9 fold increase in antibodies, depending on the dosage.

Similarly, Moderna tested a bivalent vaccine that includes an omicron component. It resulted in a 5.4-fold increase in antibodies capable of handling the B.A.4 and B.A.5 sub-variants of omicron. In people previously infected with Covid, it led to a 6.3-fold increase. Officials currently expect those specific sub-variants to soon dominate Covid cases in the U.S.

Novavax doesn’t yet have authorization for a primary Covid series in the U.S. Nevertheless, the biotech is still testing an omicron booster as well as a bivalent booster that contains an omicron component. In recent testing, both options led to “high levels” of effectiveness, the company said in briefing documents ahead of the Tuesday meeting.

But in afternoon trading on today’s stock market, the vaccine stocks tumbled. Novavax stock lost 5.5% and was trading near 50.90. Pfizer stock fell 2.8% near 50.40. Shares of Pfizer’s partner, BioNTech (BNTX), toppled 3% near 139.40. And Moderna stock skidded 2.7% near 141.50.

More to follow.

Follow Allison Gatlin on Twitter at @IBD_AGatlin.

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