AstraZeneca recoversAstraZeneca has a bumpy few days following concerns about possible rare side effects from its Covid-19 vaccine, but a U.S. trial this week finds the jab to be 79% effective with no increased risk of blood clotting, and prices jump a sweet 4.04%.
A number of European countries suspended the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine in recent days after several people died from post-vaccine blood clotting issues due to a rare autoimmune reaction. Countries across Europe halted the rollout and recalled batches sent out, including Denmark, Ireland, the Netherlands, Italy and Germany. But not everyone is so worried. Over 17 million people have received the vaccine across the U.K. and EU so far, with fewer than 40 cases of blood clots reported as of last week.
AstraZeneca saw its share price first begin to tumble on March 11 when the news of the blood clotting took hold, and the European Medicines Agency announced an investigation into the health risks, sending prices down by a shock 2.52%, and continuing to decline as more and more countries halted its rollout. The stock recovered briefly after the same agency concluded that the benefits of the vaccine outweighed the risk, but it’s been a tricky week - both for AstraZeneca and for the pharma sector as a whole, with competitors Pfizer and Moderna also seeing share prices tumble by around 10%.
Which is why the latest U.S. trial results are so reassuring. Although the vaccine has not yet been approved by the FDA and isn’t yet available in the U.S., the results suggest that approval and U.S. rollout may not be far away, in news that would undeniably be another shot in the arm (get it?) for the pharma firm’s share price. Considering that AstraZeneca has already pre-sold some 300 million doses of the jab to the North American market already, it’s obviously pretty confident.
However, President Biden also just struck a deal with Johnson & Johnson to speed up production of its single dose vaccine using the Defence Production Act to secure the needed equipment, meaning that the market is becoming more and more saturated, so the firm might need to get its skates on.