- Pfizer inching ahead in the vaccine race, selected candidate BNT162b2 for the pivotal Phase 2/3 study on the back of its safety profile.
- Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced a vaccine manufacturing deal with the British drugmaker AstraZeneca.
- Sinusoidal equity market trends continue to be driven by vaccine developments, US market and economic performance, and Victoria’s second wave of infection.
- Macroeconomic data is also carefully monitored by market participants to gauge the market trends.
While world continues to watch out for vaccine developments, Pfizer expects to take its vaccine candidate with fewer side-effects to final testing stage along with its German partner BioNTech. It has also recruited 30k candidates in the US and other nations.
Pfizer has selected candidate BNT162b2 for the pivotal Phase 2/3 study on the back of its safety profile, making the company one of the few vaccine players engaged in the final stage of testing.
In another remarkable update, Australia has signed a deal with the British drug maker AstraZeneca to produce and distribute enough doses of its potential vaccine for the country's entire population.
You walk towards the stadium, ready for the big match, tickets in hand but at the entry, you are stopped to check a small piece of paper - the proof that you have received a COVID-19 vaccination. This is the future some experts are predicting as most of the countries talk about the feasibility of making novel coronavirus vaccination mandatory, including Australia.
As the race to develop the first COVID-19 vaccine has increased the pace, the Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison recently toured the AstraZeneca laboratories in Macquarie Park, Sydney. While he initially called for coronavirus immunisations to be mandatory, he later clarified that he intends to encourage it as much as possible, with no plans of making it compulsory.
The Prime Minister said he wants all 25 million Australians to get the jab of the coronavirus vaccine as the country progresses towards securing the access for it.
All Australians will be given the doses, but a medical panel will decide the priority list. He also mentioned giving exemptions but only on medical grounds.
COVID-19 vaccine developed by Oxford University and licensed to drug maker AstraZeneca, is called AZD1222.
The PM said he hopes it will be available early next year, but it will be great if it's done sooner.
Health Minister Greg Hunt stated that the most vulnerable, the elderly, health workers, people with disabilities will be considered as the prime concern in terms of the rollout. At the time of deciding who should get it first, Health Authorities will also spot the highest risk of transmission areas and determine how vaccines work in different age groups.
PM Morrison said Australia was in search of other vaccine deals as well and also talked to its Pacific neighbours Indonesia, Papua New Guinea and Fiji, about supplying the vaccine. The Government also spoke with the University of Queensland and its partner, Australian firm CSL for a possible vaccine.
In the month of July, AstraZeneca stated it received useful data from the COVID-19 vaccine its developing. The company is already performing large-scale human trials and is a front-runner in the shot against the deadly virus.
Equity Market Trends- The Driving Forces
Sinusoidal equity market trends continue to be driven by global vaccine developments, US market and economic performance and Victoria’s second wave of infection. Macroeconomic data is also carefully monitored by market participants to gauge the market trends.
Amidst tensed reporting season and Fed’s uncertain economic outlook, the S&P ASX 200 lost 0.88 per cent to 6113 on Thursday.
Following continued strength displayed by US Tech stocks, the S&P ASX 200 rose during early trade hours, as per the expectations. Market also witnessed positive July retail sales, marking 3.3% monthly uptick with 30% yearly increase in household goods sales.
However, the equity market seems to be dancing to its own whims and fancies, with investors’ sentiments little hard to predict, especially during the battered reporting season. Besides, Victoria infections fears seem to be still a major part of investors’ psychology.
The S&P ASX 200 is trading at 6109 points, down 0.18% mid-day on 21 August 2020.
According to July preliminary retail sales data released by ABS, resurgence of virus infection and level three restrictions impacted July spending in Victoria that marked 2% monthly dip. Victorian turnover fell across Clothing, footwear and personal accessory retailing, Cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services, and Department stores. These falls were slightly offset by rises in Food retailing, as spending increased in Supermarkets.
Biotech Player, CSL under the Scanner
Australia's biggest biotechnology company, CSL Limited has been in talks with AstraZeneca. CSL may manufacture the vaccine domestically while the company is also researching a second indigenous substitute of the vaccine.
CSL shares traded at AU$295.83 mid-day on 21 August.
On 19 August, Australia's largest publicly listed company CSL Limited (ASX:CSL) share price surged 6.4% after releasing its full-year FY20 results to the market. The biotech company reported in its full-year results, a robust revenue and earnings growth and a US$1.07 per share final dividend. Its revenue climbed by 9% at constant currency.
The company said reliable FY20 results reflected its substantial increase in the immunoglobulin portfolio and successful evolution of haemophilia portfolio, driven by IDELVION®. CSL also declared a final dividend of US$1.07 per share; moreover, the company anticipates net profit after tax for FY21 to be in the range of US$2.1-US$2.26 billion at constant currency.