Stock indexes and ETFs rocketed higher and are continuing the uptrend in trading Wednesday after Moderna said its coronavirus vaccine generated antibodies in elderly patients for the first time, creating optimism for a swifter economic recovery.
Shares of the now notorious biotech gained 6% in trading on Wednesday after a company executive reported to a government advisory committee that its experimental coronavirus vaccine had precipitated an antibody reaction in elderly patients. Dr. Jacqueline Miller, the company’s SVP of infectious disease development, told the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices that neutralizing antibody titers were reported in all age groups that are currently being studied: 18 to 55 years old, 56 to 70 years old, and 71 years and older, generating optimism throughout the health and investment communities.
The vaccine from Moderna is one of several in development to battle the coronavirus, which has infected over 23.9 million people worldwide and resulted in at least 820,100, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. There are more than 170 vaccines being generated globally, according to the World Health Organization. At least 31 are in clinical trials, the WHO said.
U.S. health officials say there is no reverting to “normal” until there is a vaccine.
Scientists were concerned before that the phase one study was too limited, and the results may vary for other populations, including the elderly who generally show a more tepid immune response. The new data Wednesday will likely generate optimism that there could be a safe and efficacious vaccine to stem the spread of the coronavirus by the end of the year or early next year.
While there is hope scientists will find a safe and effective vaccine, there is never a guarantee, scientists say. They warn that questions remain about how the human body responds once it’s been infected with the virus.
While the process to generate a new vaccine is likely to take some time, rather than pin their hopes on one particular company, investors can bet on a broad swath of biotech companies using ETFs.
Some of the most popular ETFs to consider, or ones with significant allocations of Moderna, include the iShares NASDAQ Biotechnology ETF (IBB), the SPDR S&P Biotech ETF (XBI) and the VanEck Vectors Biotech ETF (BBH), and Loncar Cancer Immunotherapy ETF (CNCR).
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