Since the first initial report of COVID-19 on 31st December 2019, when the WHO China Country Office was informed, there is finally some news of a promising breakthrough in the pharma scene. Eight months into the worst pandemic in a century, Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE paved a way with optimistic preliminary results in their vaccine studies. This vaccine is said to have prevented more than 90% of infections in a study of 43,538 volunteers.
The initial observations surprised scientists about the possible effectiveness of a vaccine and fueled speculation among investors that there could be a way out of the pandemic. If this study continues to develop positively, 50 million doses of vaccine could be ready by year-end. The companies have said they should be able to produce 1.3 billion doses, enough to vaccinate 650 million people by the end of 2021.
Victory of Science
“This is about the best the news could possibly be for the world and for the United States and for public health,” said William Gruber, Pfizer senior vice president for vaccine clinical research and development. It was better than even the best result he had hoped for, he said. With effectiveness for the first vaccines previously expected to be in the range of 60% to 70%, “more than 90% is extraordinary,” BioNTech Chief Executive Officer Ugur Sahin said.
Leading the Race
From the financial market angle, after Pfizer announced Monday that its COVID-19 vaccine was more than 90% effective in preventing the virus, the news sent its stock along with global markets skyrocketing. Pfizer shares extended gains in premarket trading, rising around 16% while BioNTech reached almost 27%. The news also boosted more than $500 billion to the MSCI All Country World Index’s value.
In the U.S., the S&P 500 jumped 3.6% to more than 3,600, topping its previous record intraday high from September. The Nasdaq lagged as vaccine hopes pushed traders away from software stocks such as Zoom (ZM). Britain’s stock market, the FTSE 100 index, jumped 4.4%, or 260 points, to 6,170, as investors hail the news. If you would like to know the basics about stocks, check our article.