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Omicron Variant Sees Moderna, Pfizer Stocks Skyrocket as Companies Target 100-Day Vaccine Timeline

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On Black Friday, Nov. 26,  shares of the top COVID-19 vaccine developers Moderna, Pfizer and Novavax all vaulted higher, per The Motley Fool.

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“While Pfizer’s equity hasn’t skipped a beat of late because of its oral coronavirus pill, the pharma giant now stands to possibly benefit from another year of exceptionally strong COVID-19 vaccine sales. Pfizer’s stock, in turn, will probably continue to print ever-increasing record highs heading into 2022,” the outlet reported, adding that Moderna, Pfizer, and Novavax are all poised to benefit in a big way from their unique vaccine development capabilities, making their stocks exceedingly strong buys this week.

Vaccine makers Pfizer and BioNTech said they could produce and ship an updated version of its vaccine — one targeting the Omicron variant — within 100 days.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has labeled Omicron a “virus of concern” (VOC), as preliminary evidence suggests an increased risk of reinfection regarding this variant as compared to other VOCs, according to a statement. The new variant was first reported by the WHO as originating from South Africa — the news coming on Nov. 24 — and has since been detected in several other countries.

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“Pfizer and BioNTech have taken actions months ago to be able to adapt the mRNA vaccine within six weeks and ship initial batches within 100 days in the event of an escape variant,” the company said in a statement, according to Reuters.

Pfizer expects to know within two weeks whether the variant is resistant to its current vaccine, Reuters reports.

“We expect more data from the laboratory tests in two weeks at the latest. These data will provide more information about whether B.1.1.529 could be an escape variant that may require an adjustment of our vaccine if the variant spreads globally,” a company spokesperson told Reuters.

Moderna also said it was also moving fast to address the new variant. The vaccine maker is testing three existing COVID-19 vaccine booster candidates against the Omicron variant, and has announced a new variant-specific vaccine candidate targeting Omicron, according to a statement.

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“From the beginning, we have said that as we seek to defeat the pandemic, it is imperative that we are proactive as the virus evolves. The mutations in the Omicron variant are concerning and for several days, we have been moving as fast as possible to execute our strategy to address this variant,” Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel said in a statement.

“We have three lines of defense that we are advancing in parallel: we have already evaluated a higher dose booster of mRNA-1273 (100 µg), second, we are already studying two multi-valent booster candidates in the clinic that were designed to anticipate mutations such as those that have emerged in the Omicron variant and data is expected in the coming weeks, and third, we are rapidly advancing a Omicron-specific booster candidate (mRNA-1273.529),” Bancel added.

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