Moderna stock surges to record high on evidence it could work against deadly COVID variant

·2-min read
The Delta variant, first identified in India, has spread to at least 77 countries. Photo: Reuters
The Delta variant, first identified in India, has spread to at least 77 countries. Photo: Reuters

Moderna (MRNA) shares hit a record high as it announced that its COVID-19 vaccine could work against the highly contagious Delta variant, first identified in India.

Shares closed 5% higher in the US on Tuesday, trading at $234 (£170) and were up 0.6% in pre-market trading on Wednesday.

However, the results, "while promising, may not reflect how the vaccines actually perform in real-world scenarios against the variants," a CNBC report said.

According to Scientific American, the variant has spread to at least 77 countries and regions and now makes up more than 20 percent of all US cases. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has identified it as a “variant of concern”.

Moderna said the vaccine has "produced neutralizing titers against all variants tested," including the Kappa and Delta variants in India, plus variants first found in South Africa, Nigeria, Uganda and Angola.

“As we seek to defeat the pandemic, it is imperative that we are proactive as the virus evolves," said CEO Stéphane Bancel.

Moderna's share price has surged. Chart: Yahoo Finance UK
Moderna's share price has surged. Chart: Yahoo Finance UK

"We remain committed to studying emerging variants, generating data and sharing it as it becomes available. These new data are encouraging and reinforce our belief that the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine should remain protective against newly detected variants," he added.

The results were based on the blood serum of eight participants one week after they received the second dose of the vaccine. The data hasn’t been peer-reviewed.

The company also said its vaccine has now been authorised for use in India.

Earlier, Moderna said the European Commission had bought 150 million doses of its jab for delivery in 2022, brining the bloc's total order commitment to 460 million doses.

Last week, the stocks of Moderna, as well as BioNTech and Pfizer (PFE), all of whom make the mRNA vaccine, fell amid news the jabs could be linked to rare heart inflammation in young people.

A CDC advisory panel said there is a “likely association” between adolescents getting the vaccines and cases of myocarditis and pericarditis, but it added that the benefits are still greater than the risks.

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