Many Americans throw up their facemas. They found friends and family. They ate outside again. Life is back to normal, at least for the most part.
Unfortunately, this story is different in other parts of the world. The main difference is the availability of vaccines. In the US, 88 doses of COVID-19 vaccine are given for every 100 people. In India, the count is only 15 doses per 100 people.
The U.S. government has secured major supply agreements with leading vaccine manufacturers, especially Modern (NASDAQ: MRNA) and Pfizer (NYSE: PFE). These companies make billions of dollars, but the U.S. doesn’t seem to be going any further in the fight against COVID-19 thanks to their vaccines.
However, things can change. A bad warning from Moderna could shake the COVID-19 vaccine market.
New COVID-19 waves are coming
Last week, Moderna celebrated its fourth annual Science Day. In this virtual event for investors, the company lays out research and development plans. But leading biotech scientists have also sounded an alarm reminiscent of Paul Revere’s famous call for the British to come. In this case, however, Moderna’s warning is that new COVID-19 waves are coming.
Moderna chief scientist Melissa Moore stated, “As the virus spreads, it’s rapidly changing.” He added, “Some of the new viral strains seem to be more recognizable than the original sin.”
The good news is that vaccines from Moderna and Pfizer, in particular, have been very effective to date. The bad news is, in Moore’s words, “We already know that some of the new types of differences are not easily identified by diagnosing the current vaccine.”
Moderna’s researchers found the lowest neutralization of antibody levels against several different coronavirus causes of concern, suggesting a risk of diminishing the duration of protection against infection. Since some of its varieties are more susceptible to transmission, Moderna thinks that “new waves of the epidemic are undoubtedly imminent.”
Vaccine market implications
What does all this mean for Americans and for the COVID-19 vaccine market? In the end that’s it booster shot and new vaccines targeting the species may be necessary.
Anthony Fauci, President Biden’s chief medical adviser and longtime head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, thinks we won’t know for sure if booster doses are needed until they fall. Moderna’s research shows that it’s not a question of when booster shots are needed.
The emergence of strong new varieties could change the market strength of the COVID-19 vaccine. Companies that have focused all of their efforts on making vaccines that target the original coronavirus offender may be left behind if they don’t quickly exchange different specific vaccines.
There are two main challenges at play for vaccine makers. First, the rapid evolution of the coronavirus means that drug manufacturers must have a technological approach that lends itself to quickly developing a variety of specific vaccine candidates. Second, companies will need financial resources not only to develop these new vaccines but also to continue clinical studies.
Most likely to succeed
Smaller biotechs that do not have a lot of stock or deals already in preparation for their COVID-19 vaccines could be a serious disadvantage in the rapid shift in the market. More and more drug companies that have experienced shortcomings in their vaccination coverage may also find it difficult to keep up.
It can be said that the most likely to succeed in the various focused market of the COVID-19 vaccine are the drug manufacturers that have been the most successful: Moderna and Pfizer (along with its partner BioNTech (NASDAQ: BNTX)). Why? Perhaps most importantly, their messenger RNA technology has allowed these companies to quickly produce a variety of vaccines that are different. Moderna and Pfizer are already on the test with their respective candidates being specifically different.
But is the rise in coronavirus strains already priced at these stocks? You might think that’s the reason for Moderna and BioNTech. the stock in biotech increased by almost 80% and more than 150% year to date, respectively. Pfizer shares, however, are up just 5% this year.
However, all three stocks traded short -lived earnings at most. If the coronavirus continues to evolve and forces the need for new vaccines that are specifically different to sustain the pandemic, Moderna, Pfizer, and BioNTech have plenty of room to run.
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