At a recent press conference, the head of the World Health Organization (WHO), Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said that, thanks to the positive news of the development of anti-poisonous vaccines, “the light at the end of this long dark tunnel is getting brighter.”
But today it seems that the doctor hastened to conclusions: the tunnel is getting longer again, and the light is dimming. Now Moderna, Pfizer and BioNTech need to prove that their vaccines are effective against the new strain of coronavirus infection. How the appearance of the mutated virus changed the state of affairs and what awaits us in the near future – now we will discuss.
What new strain are we talking about?
- According to WHO, the mutant virus was discovered in mid-September. It was named VUI-202012/01.
- The identification of the new strain was announced on December 19 by Boris Johnson, British Prime Minister.
- According to preliminary data, the rate of spread of this strain is 70% higher. However, only the results of additional studies can prove or disprove this statement.
- Doctors are wary of suggesting that VUI-202012/01 does not lead to a more severe form of the disease and is not more fatal.
- There is no information yet on whether vaccines developed by Pfizer and BioNTech, as well as Moderna, are effective in combating it.
- Some epidemiologists note that the more infectious strain of the SARS-CoV-2 virus identified in the Kingdom is most likely the result of exposure to drugs that are used to treat patients.
How have pharmaceutical companies responded?
According to CNN, representatives of Pfizer, BioNTech and Moderna have already announced the beginning of additional studies to test the effectiveness of their drugs against the updated version of COVID-19.
As a reminder, the vaccine developed by Pfizer has received regulatory approval for use in the UK, USA and the European Union. As for “Modern”, then the use of its development has been approved so far only in the United States.
And what about Great Britain?
Today, the Kingdom is considered the hotbed of the spread of a new strain of coronavirus. In this regard, in London and several regions in the south-east of England, from December 20, the highest level restrictions were introduced. Massive Christmas celebrations have been banned, hairdressing salons, gyms and non-food shops closed.
The information about the appearance of the mutated virus caused an instant reaction from the world community. The Netherlands, Italy, Belgium, Germany, Bulgaria, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Austria, Russia, Kuwait, Israel, Oman and other countries immediately announced the cancellation of flights with the UK.
What was the market reaction?
In light of the latest news on December 22, Pfizer shares lost 1.71%, dropping from $ 37.38 to $ 36.74 per unit. The price of BioNTech securities showed a more significant decline – 5.54%, from $ 106.46 to $ 100.56. Moderna’s quotes plummeted by almost 9%, the price of securities fell from $ 138.3 to $ 125.88.
Summing up the result
A new version of the SARS-CoV-2 virus has been identified, which, according to experts, is spreading almost twice as fast, but is not more dangerous. Thanks for that, so to speak. It is now important to see if existing vaccines, which have already received UK, US and EU approval, can protect us from the new strain.
According to the preliminary opinion of representatives of the World Health Organization, the drugs developed remain effective in countering COVID-19. But, I must confess, there is not much trust in this authority. So we are waiting for news from the laboratories and hope for the best.