Vaccine stocks Moderna (MRNA) and Novavax (NVAX) received positive news for their Covid vaccines as omicron cases continue to rise in the United States and abroad, but both firms’ shares plummeted amid a broad market sell-off.
Moderna claimed that its authorized Covid booster resulted in a significant rise in virus-blocking antibodies, allowing it to surpass a similar booster shot from Pfizer (PFE) and BioNTech (BNTX). Meanwhile, the European Commission gave Novavax’s Covid shot conditional marketing permission. The decision follows the European Medicines Agency’s recommendation for the vaccine.
However, vaccination stocks have plummeted in today’s stock market. The shares of Moderna reversed their fortunes from earlier in the day, falling 6.3 percent to close at 276.38. Earlier in the session, stocks were much higher. Meanwhile, Novavax stock fell and continued to fall. The stock finished at 201.95, down 7.1 percent.
The authorized booster from Moderna has half the dose of the first immunization. Both its permitted booster and a full-size third dosage of its vaccination were tested against a lab-created omicron. In comparison, Pfizer and BioNTech boosters are the same sizes as their primary shots.
Vaccine Stocks Face-Off Against Omicron
The permitted booster resulted in a 37-fold increase in antibodies in Moderna’s test. According to Moderna, the higher dose increased antibodies 83-fold. In comparison, the Pfizer-BioNTech booster increases neutralizing antibodies by a factor of 25.
In a written statement, CEO Stephane Bancel termed the test results “reassuring.”
Nonetheless, Moderna intends to put an omicron-specific booster through clinical trials. The company is evaluating two doses of its original booster, boosters that combine earlier versions, and variant-specific boosters against delta and omicron in total.
Novavax Receives Important Recommendation
Meanwhile, the European Commission’s conditional marketing permission authorizes Novavax to sell its Nuvaxovid vaccine in Europe without full approval — akin to emergency use authorization in the United States.
“We appreciate today’s European Commission decision reflecting the first licensing of a protein-based Covid-19 vaccination for European Union citizens,” said Chief Executive Stanley Erck in a written statement.
Earlier in the day, Erck stated that his company’s shot is “the first protein-based vaccine to be delivered to the EU at a critical period when we believe having a choice among vaccinations would contribute to increased immunization.”
Novavax’s vaccine varies from Pfizer’s and Moderna’s in that the latter use messenger RNA to instruct the body to produce a single spike protein resembling the surface of the virus in order to generate antibodies against it. To produce immunization, Novavax employs an antigen generated from the spike protein.
In August, the European Commission and Novavax signed an advance purchase agreement for up to 200 million doses of the vaccine. The first doses are scheduled to arrive in January.