After the struggle with the COVID-19 pandemic and its impacts clouding most of 2020, the rollout of vaccines against COVID-19 is the major highlight of 2021. Over the past few weeks, several pharmaceutical companies have been reporting their developments with regards to their work with their vaccine candidates.
Last week, two companies reported positive data from their trials while one dropped out of the race. Let’s take a look at where these companies stand in terms of vaccine development efforts:
Pfizer – Moderna
Pfizer (NYSE: PFE) and Moderna (NASDAQ: MRNA) are at the forefront of the fight against COVID-19. The vaccines of both companies were proven to be 95% effective against the virus and are currently being used in several countries across the world.
Novavax (NASDAQ: NVAX) disclosed results from its Phase 3 clinical trial on Thursday which showed that its COVID-19 vaccine candidate NVX-CoV2373 was 89% effective in combating the virus. The vaccine also displayed an efficacy rate of 85.6% against the UK variant strain but the efficacy rate against the South Africa variant was 49.4%. The vaccine can be stored at refrigerator temperatures and can be transported using the existing facilities.
Johnson & Johnson
On Friday, Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ) announced that its COVID-19 vaccine candidate was 66% effective in preventing moderate to severe COVID-19 infection. The trial, conducted across eight countries, showed different protection levels across regions, with the US showing an efficacy rate of 72% while South Africa showed only 57%.
J&J’s vaccine has the benefit of needing only a single dose, unlike its rivals which need two doses, and it can be stored for two years at a temperature of -20°C and for three months at refrigerator temperatures of 2-8°C. The company plans to file for Emergency Use Authorization in the US in early February.
Last week, Eli Lilly and Company (NYSE: LLY) announced results from its Phase 3 BLAZE-1 trial, which showed that the combination of its neutralizing antibodies bamlanivimab and etesevimab significantly reduced COVID-19-related hospitalizations and death by 70%. Bamlanivimab is already authorized in the US for emergency use to treat high-risk patients with mild to moderate COVID-19.
Last week, Merck & Co. (NYSE: MRK) halted the development of its COVID-19 vaccine candidates, V590 and V591, after the Phase 1 clinical trials showed that both candidates displayed inferior immune responses compared to those seen following natural infection as well as those shown by its peers’ products.
Over the past one month, the stocks of these companies have gained/dropped as follows:
Pfizer – down 2%
Moderna – up 45%
Novavax – up 138%
Johnson & Johnson – up 4%
Eli Lilly – up 25%
Merck – down 4%
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