The Dow Jones Industrial Average hit 30,303.37 points, up nearly 150 points, or 0.49%. The S&P 500 gained 21.31 (0.58%) to reach more than 3,722. The Nasdaq composite, which has risen steadily over the past few days, gained more than 106 points (0.84%) to reach 12,764.74.
Less than an hour after the closing bell, the Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee voted overwhelmingly in favor of recommending FDA approval for Moderna’s two-dose COVID-19 vaccine. Twenty members of the committee voted yes to emergency use authorization of the vaccine for individuals over 18. One committee member abstained.
By increasing the age to receive the vaccine to 18 rather than approve for use in ages 16+, the committee was able to address most of the concerns conveyed during the Pfizer approval meeting. Neither Pfizer nor Moderna have a lot of data on the benefits of the vaccine in those under 18.
With FDA approval nearly a shoe-in at this point, Moderna’s mRNA-1273 vaccine would be the first drug developed by the pharmaceutical company to receive FDA approval.
The vaccine has a few advantages over the Pfizer shots, the Guardian reported late Thursday evening. Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine does not require ultra-cold storage, which can minimize some of the logistical challenges of distributing the vaccine. Secondly, while 94% effective, the vaccine also seemed to mitigate COVID-19 symptoms in the 6% of people it did not fully protect.
In anticipation of Moderna’s vaccine receiving the necessary recommendation, the stock popped yesterday, hitting a high of $146.97 mid-morning. It closed at 144, a 6.97-point, 5.09% lift since morning.
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