Coronavirus Update: Novavax’s protein-based vaccine approval fails to boost stock as demand in U.S. for shots and boosters remains low

by | Jul 14, 2022 | Stock Market

U.S. health regulators authorized the use of Novavax Inc.’s COVID-19 vaccine, providing a new option that works differently than the two leading vaccines, both based on mRNA technology, but the move comes at a time when uptake of shots and boosters is low. The Food and Drug Administration said adults 18 and older may receive Novavax’s
NVAX,
-24.90%
vaccine, once it has been approved by the CDC, a decision expected in the coming days, as the Wall Street Journal reported.

The Novavax vaccine is protein-based and comprises two shots taken just three weeks apart. There are hopes it may appeal to some vaccine-hesitant people, as it uses more conventional technology than the mRNA-based shots developed by Moderna
MRNA,
-6.52%
and Pfizer
PFE,
-0.77%
and BioNTech
BNTX,
-6.28%.
A viral-vector vaccine from Johnson & Johnson
JNJ,
-0.06%
unit Janssen has also been distributed in the U.S. under emergency-use authorization since early 2021.

However, the U.S. vaccine program has slowed to a crawl with the numbers getting either primary shots or booster doses remaining static for weeks, based on data from the CDC (see below). The Novavax shot is aimed at the original strain of the virus, which has quickly been replaced by newer variants, including omicron and its many subvariants, which are now dominant. Moderna and Pfizer are working to develop vaccines specifically targeting omicron. From the archives (June 2022): J&J does not plan to update its COVID-19 vaccine The World Health Organization said Thursday that BA.5, an omicron subvariant that is understood to be more infectious than other subvariants, accounted for 50% of new cases sequenced in the month through July 10 and has been detected in 89 countries. In its weekly epidemiological update, the agency said cases rose for a fifth straight week in the week through July 10 with more than 5.7 million being reported. The number of fatalities was flat at more than 9,800. The WHO again warned that all trends should be “interpreted with caution,” given that many countries have greatly reduced surveillance and testing, meaning lower numbers of cases are being detected. See: Pandemic is still a public health emergency, warns WHO, urging greater surveillance including testing and sequencing In the U.S., the daily average for new cases is ticking higher and stood at 130,511 on Wednesday, according to a New York Times tracker, up 16% from two weeks ago. The daily average for hospitalizations rose to 38,971, up 19% in two weeks. And the positivity rate on COVID tests stands at 18%, the highest since Feb. 1. The daily average for deaths is up 11% to 430. 

Coronavirus Update: MarketWatch’s daily roundup has been curating and reporting all the latest developments every weekday since the coronavirus pandemic began Other COVID-19 news you should know about: • A labor shortage in the U.K. has been exacerbated by the number of people who are laid low after getting COVID, according to a new report. The report, published on the Taylor & Francis Online site, looked at the impact of long COVID on the workforce. “Since the beginning of the pandemic, economic inactivity due to long-term sickness has risen by 120,900 among the working-age population, fueling th …

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