Shares of Vaccine-Makers Slip as Omicron Threat Wanes, Rivals Emerge

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Shares of Vaccine-Makers Slip as Omicron Threat Wanes, Rivals Emerge

By Dhirendra Tripathi – Shares of vaccine-makers traded lower Thursday as the threat from omicron wanes and competition gets more intense.

Novavax stock (NASDAQ: NVAX ) dropped 3.1% while Pfizer (NYSE: PFE ), Moderna (NASDAQ: MRNA ) and BioNTech (NASDAQ: BNTX ) all traded down 1.5-2%. AstraZeneca ADRs (NASDAQ: AZN ) were trading weaker by just under 1%.

Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ ), which is now a distant player in Covid management, was up 0.2%. Contribution of Covid-vaccine sales in the consumer giant’s overall revenue is negligible.

Omicron kept the world on tenterhooks last two months as the variant spread at least twice as fast as delta, the coronavirus mutant that ravaged the world April-September. In no time did it cover more than 80 countries, with nations that had a healthy pace of vaccinations, reporting record number of new cases. Fresh Covid cases in U.K. numbered more than 90,000 last week on some days.

However, it didn’t reflect in increased hospitalizations and latest studies suggest it may not be as deadly as delta, leading to subdued sentiment for stocks of vaccine-makers.

To add to that, the USFDA has approved anti-Covid pills made by Pfizer and Merck (NS: PROR ). While being no substitute, hope for any sort of medication other than vaccines, particularly among those still hesitant to get a shot, was also adding to the pressure on the stocks. Merck (NYSE: MRK ) traded 0.4% lower in the session underway today.

With Novavax getting approved by the European drugs regulator and the WHO earlier this week, prospects of another vaccine compounded the negative sentiment for these stocks. Novavax reported today that a two-dose regimen of their vaccine offers strong protection against omicron and other Covid variants.

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