Third Pfizer (PFE) vaccine neutralises Omicron, study finds
14:47, 8 December 2021
Pfizer and BioNTech announced results from early laboratory results that show its vaccine neutralised the Omicron variant of the Covid-19 virus especially with a third booster shot, which brought a risk-on tone to the markets on Wednesday.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average surged ahead of the open following two straight trading sessions in which the US stock index rose by 1% or more erasing much of the sell-off that occurred last week on fears of a global spread in the Omicron variant.
Yet the three major indices opened roughly flat to the prior day’s close taking a pause from the rally to digest the latest Covid-19 news.
Pfizer and BioNTech found that two doses of its vaccine is likely to protect individuals from severe illness caused by the Omicron variant but that a third dose increases the chances of neutralising the disease by 25-fold.
“Although two doses of the vaccine may still offer protection against severe disease caused by the Omicron strain, it is clear from these preliminary data that protection is improved with a third dose of our vaccine,” Albert Bourla, chief executive officer of Pfizer, said in a press release. “Ensuring as many people as possible are fully vaccinated with the first two-dose series and a booster remains the best course of action to prevent the spread of Covid-19”.
The companies stressed that these are still preliminary results and that they are still working on developing an Omicron-specific booster that is expected to be ready by March.
“This report of the small study (12 people!!) from South Africa lacked substance but you could take positives and negatives from it. More information is clearly needed,” Jim Reid, head of global fundamental credit strategy for Deutsche Bank, said in a report provided to Capital.com.
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The markets originally traded lower overnight on news that the UK is considering implementing more strict lockdown measures as early as Thursday to prevent the spread of Covid-19 and the Omicron variant.
However, that tone reversed once Pfizer and BioNTech announced the results from the early trials.
“Risk assets are set to climb a third straight day this session,” BMO fixed income strategists Daniel Krieter and Daniel Belton wrote in a report sent to Capital.com. “While Omicron will remain in the backdrop, clearly the worst case scenarios with respect to severity of illnesses and vaccine elusiveness seem to have been averted”.
The US oil benchmark the West Texas Intermediate is trading 0.28% lower to $71.81 per barrel early in the day. Likewise, the US dollar currency index is 0.25% lower to 96.12.
Its risk-on in the bond market where Treasury yields are up to their highest levels of December. The 10-year Treasury benchmark traded 2 basis points higher to 1.5%, while the three-year Treasury rate went three basis points higher to 1.02%.
“For the markets though, every day that passes without a wave of severe cases driven by Omicron is offering more hope that this will not be the curveball to throw the recovery off course,” Reid said. “Indeed, to get a sense of the scale of the market rebound, both the S&P 500 and the STOXX 600 in Europe have now clocked in their strongest two-day performances of 2021 so far, with the indices up by 3.27% and 3.76%, respectively, since the start of the week”.