THE NEUTRAL ZONE
Stocks rose to new highs Monday as Pfizer announced that early results of its coronavirus vaccine showed it was 90% effective. Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech are on track to receive FDA emergency-use approval later this month for 100 million doses. If approved, the vaccine requires two doses, which halves the number of initial recipients to 50 million. The National Academies Sciences, Engineering and Medicine outlined a framework to ensure fair distribution of the Pfizer vaccine when made available.
Experts called the initial results encouraging but warned that the vaccine faces some hurdles before widespread availability, including further safety testing, cold transportation and a shortage of glass vials. Pfizer board member Dr. Scott Gottlieb noted that the U.S. will still face “the hardest stretch” of the pandemic this winter because “the vaccine is really a 2021 event.” Eleven vaccines are currently in late-stage testing worldwide, with four in the U.S.
Vice President Mike Pence praised the results under Operation Warp Speed. Though the company closed a nearly $2 billion deal with the U.S. government in July to provide vaccines, Pfizer head of vaccine research Dr. Kathrin Jansen denied the company’s participation in Operation Warp Speed to avoid political influence in research and development. President-elect Joe Biden also lauded the results, though he urged caution and patience with the potential timetable and availability.
While the news boosted stocks for companies working on a vaccine, companies that make antibody and antiviral treatments remained flat or lagged behind vaccine makers. With a distant dream of normalcy now closer to reality, shares of movie theater chain AMC, concert promoter Live Nation, cruise lines, retailer and restaurant chains, travel and leisure companies, and oil and gas all saw gains as well. Meanwhile, stocks in companies that benefited from stay-at-home trends lost significantly, including Zoom, Slack, Amazon, Netflix, Peloton and even Clorox.
Behind Pfizer’s vaccine, an understated husband-and-wife “dream team” – Reuters – 11/9/2020
Positive data on BioNTech and U.S. partner Pfizer Inc’s COVID-19 vaccine is an unlikely success for the married couple behind the German biotech firm, who have devoted their lives to harnessing the immune system against cancer.Pfizer said on Monday said its experimental vaccine was more than 90% effective in preventing COVID-19 based on initial data from a large study.
Yes, epidemiologists are very excited about the Pfizer and BioNTech vaccine news – Fortune – 11/9/2020
As news broke of a successful trial of Pfizer and BioNTech’s vaccine on Monday morning, the reaction of epidemiologists and virologists came pouring in. Reader, they’re excited. Always a cautious bunch, scientists—so far, reaction skews European and U.K. heavy as the U.S. wakes up to the news—measured their words, but some, like Cambridge University’s Gordon Dougan, declared the results could be a “game changer” for life under COVID-19.
Cuomo: ‘Bad News’ that Pfizer Announced Vaccine Results Before Biden Assumes Office – National Review – 11/9/2020
Pfizer’s announcement that its coronavirus vaccine could be ready for distribution within the next two months was partially “bad news” because it comes before President Trump leaves office, New York governor Andrew Cuomo said on Monday morning. Pfizer and BioNTech revealed on Monday that their vaccine was 90 percent effective according to preliminary data, and that they could request emergency approval from the Food and Drug Administration by the end of November. However, Governor Cuomo lamented that the announcement means the Trump administration would be in charge of vaccine distribution.
Biden touts vaccine developments, but warns end of pandemic battle ‘still months away’ – Politico – 11/9/2020
President-elect Joe Biden on Monday heralded a positive new development in the race for a coronavirus vaccine, but said it will still be several months before most of the country is inoculated and stressed that Americans’ fight against the pandemic is far from over. […] “I congratulate the brilliant women and men who helped produce this breakthrough and to give us such cause for hope,” Biden said. […] Biden went on to warn that even if a vaccine is approved by late November, allowing some Americans to be vaccinated as soon as later this year, “it will be many more months before there is widespread vaccination in this country.”