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Why Moderna Got Slammed on Tuesday

By Eric Volkman - Dec 15, 2020 at 6:21PM

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Investors didn't necessarily like what Dr. Fauci had to say about coronavirus vaccines.

What happened

There was good news with Moderna ( MRNA 1.74% ) on Tuesday regarding its closely followed mRNA-1273 coronavirus vaccine candidate. However, comments made by a health expert who has the ear of the nation when it comes to the pandemic ended up driving the stock down. At the end of the day, it had dropped by over 5%.

So what

The good news first: A briefing filed with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) revealed that the regulator was leaning toward authorizing mRNA-1273 for general use. This comes two days before the committee advising the FDA meets to discuss whether or not the regulator should turn on that green light.

Dr. Anthony Fauci speaking in an office setting.

Dr. Anthony Fauci. Image source: National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID).

However, this appeared to be overshadowed by remarks made earlier by high-profile expert Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the government's National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID). During a healthcare event, Fauci said of coronavirus vaccines in general that it may take one year to determine "what the durability is and whether or not we're dealing with something that needs to be reboosted every year."

Now what

The world is scared and weary at the same time about the coronavirus, and it needs hope. What it doesn't want to hear is that mRNA-based vaccines like Moderna's are still very new on the scene and that "some form of normality," according to Dr. Fauci, might not be possible until the fall of 2021. Yet that's a sober and realistic assessment, and shouldn't be greeted as bad or unexpected news deserving of a sell-off.

 
This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis – even one of our own – helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.

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