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Pfizer (PFE) COVID-19 Vaccine Seems Potent Against UK Strain

Zacks Equity Research
·3-min read

Pfizer PFE and its Germany-based partner, BioNTech BNTX announced data from an in-vitro study, which demonstrated that its mRNA-based coronavirus vaccine, BNT162b, elicits antibodies that neutralize the new strain of coronavirus infection that was found in the United Kingdom (UK) last month.

The new strain is a mutated version of the SARS-CoV-2 virus and is known as the B.1.1.7 lineage. Experts believe that the mutated virus is potentially more contagious and has an unusually large number of genetic changes with 10 mutations located in the spike protein. The mutations raised concerns that vaccines approved or being developed for original SARS-CoV-2 may be less effective against the new strain.

Pfizer and BioNTech generated a pseudovirus with full set of UK strain spike mutations and tested it as well as SARS-CoV-2 in the in-vitro study with sera of participants from a previously completed phase I/II study that evaluated BNT162b. Data showed that neutralization of the new strain by BNT162b is biologically equivalent to the unmutated SARS-CoV-2. The company also stated that previous studies have shown excellent concordance between pseudotype neutralization and SARS-CoV-2 neutralization assays.

Pfizer’s stock has declined 9.2% in the past year against 6.5% increase of the industry.

Meanwhile, total infection from the COVID-19 pandemic across the globe is fast reaching the 100-million mark. The disease has caused more than 2 million deaths across the globe, per World Health Organization's website as of Jan 21.

An effective prevention of the new coronavirus strain following immunization with BNT162b2 will help in containing the risk of this fast-spreading variant. However, additional data will be required to confirm the effectiveness of BNT162b against the B.1.1.7 lineage.

Please note that BNT162b is approved for emergency/conditional use in multiple countries including the United States, the United Kingdom and Europe. The vaccine has also been approved by the World Health Organization (WHO) for emergency use. Per a Reuters article, three other vaccines are also in line to get added to WHO’s emergency listing soon. The possible new entrants are Moderna’s MRNA mRNA-1273, AstraZeneca’s AZN AZD1222 and China-based Sinopharm’s Sinovac. These candidates are in late-stage review and may win emergency use approval from WHO in the coming weeks or months.

Pfizer Inc. Price

Pfizer Inc. Price
Pfizer Inc. Price

Pfizer Inc. price | Pfizer Inc. Quote

Zacks Rank

Pfizer currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

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