Pfizer Weaker Amid Mixed News on Vaccine, Covid Pill

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Pfizer Weaker Amid Mixed News on Vaccine, Covid Pill

By Dhirendra Tripathi – Pfizer stock (NYSE: PFE ) traded 0.7% lower in premarket Tuesday amid conflicting news surrounding its Covid-19 vaccine and its yet-to-be-launched antiviral pill for the same disease.

The stock was volatile, and after being down around 2% at one time in premarket, recouped some losses.

Depressing the stock were the findings of a real-world study in South Africa that said the two doses of the vaccine appear to give only 70% protection against hospitalization in South Africa, suggesting weaker efficacy against the new Omicron variant.

Labelled "of concern" by the World Health Organization, Omicron has been reported in more than 60 countries, including China, and now dominates the Delta variant in many nations.

The study released by South Africa's largest private health insurance administrator, Discovery (NASDAQ: DISCA ) Health, was based on more than 211,000 positive Covid test results. Around 78,000 of those results between November 15 and December 7 were attributed to Omicron.

According to Reuters, the 78,000 results are not confirmed Omicron cases, meaning the findings are not conclusive.

Partly balancing the findings was the company’s claim that its pill against the infection has near 90% efficacy in preventing hospitalizations and deaths in high-risk patients. The company is expecting its pill to be another blockbuster after the success of its vaccine.  

The company said recent lab data suggests the antiviral retains its effectiveness against Omicron.

The pill awaits the FDA’s authorization. If approved, it would be the most effective pill in the market, easily surpassing Merck's (NYSE: MRK ) 30% efficacy, which is also awaiting approval from the FDA.

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