COVID-19 vaccine maker stocks fell heavily on Monday as investors assess the risks a new strain of the virus found in the UK could bring.
Key US stocks, the S&P 500 and Dow Jones closed down 0.21% and 0.67%, respectively, on Tuesday, amid claims from health officials that a new Covid-19 strain emerging in the UK may already be in the US. , Germany, France and Switzerland.
Shares of Pfizer (PFE), BionTech (BNTX) and Moderna (MRNA), whose COVID-19 vaccines have already been approved by the FDA and European authorities for mass use, fell sharply on Tuesday by 1.71%, 5.54% and 9%, respectively. after strong growth in early December.
According to preliminary data from the UK, the new strain could “potentially be transmitted more quickly than other circulating strains,” the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said.
At the same time, health experts note that there is no evidence that the new virus strain is more dangerous to human health.
Moncef Slowey, chief scientific adviser for US vaccine delivery and distribution operation Warp Speed, said on Monday that it will take weeks to scientifically determine whether a strain is more rapidly transmitted. He also said that he expects existing vaccines to likely continue to provide protection against it.
“At the moment, we do not know if our vaccine can provide protection against this new variant, but since the proteins of this variant are 99% the same as those of the prevailing strains, BioNTech has ‘scientific confidence’ in the vaccine. The likelihood that our vaccine will work is relatively high, ”said BioNTech CEO Ugur Sahin, saying the company is currently conducting further research and hopes to gain confidence in the coming weeks.
Amid the new threat and uncertainty surrounding the new strain of the virus, the UK has imposed tighter quarantines in the southeastern territory and is exploring whether more areas should be isolated.
More than 40 countries, not including the United States, have temporarily suspended transport links with the UK.
Another negative factor for financial markets was the increase in the number of hospitalizations and deaths from coronavirus in the United States. In the most populous city in the United States, New York, for the week ending December 21, COVID-19 deaths were 188, up 31% from the four-week average. New York Mayor Bill de Blasio urged residents to stay home over the holidays.
On a positive note, there is a gradual expansion of the supply of currently available vaccines and the promotion of vaccination against COVID-19 through the public vaccination of famous people.
Switzerland has received the first 107,000 doses of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, and individual vaccinations will begin this month before the vaccine is officially introduced in the country on 4 January.
Recently, 80-year-old Anthony Fauci, the chief infectious disease physician of the US government, received the Moderna vaccine with Alex Azar, Secretary of Health and Human Services, and Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health.