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Why Shares of Moderna and Novavax Are Higher This Morning

By Jason Hawthorne – Aug 25, 2021 at 12:03PM

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The potential for a third shot is giving them a boost.

What happened

Shares of Moderna (MRNA -0.23%) and Novavax (NVAX -2.88%) are 2.7% and 3.5% higher, respectively, as of 11:10 a.m. EDT today, after more news showing booster shots are likely in the cards for those who have received a COVID-19 vaccine.

So what

With many of those in the U.S. and U.K. already receiving their jab, and the delta variant circulating, much of Wall Street's work has been trying to calculate how much of an opportunity booster shots represents.

A healthcare worker points to a bandage on their upper arm indicating a vaccination.

Image source: Getty Images.

Some of those questions are starting to get answered. In the U.K., the two will participate in a government-funded study named Octave Duo -- along with Pfizer (PFE 0.74%) -- to evaluate the effectiveness of an additional shot for people with weaker immune systems. 

In another U.K. study, researchers said the effectiveness of the Pfizer-BioNTech (BNTX -0.88%) vaccine fell six months after the second dose. Although the jab was initially deemed 95% effective at preventing infection, the latest study shows protection waning to 88% after one month and 74% after five to six months.

Now what

Early results from the Octave Duo study won't be available until later this year. But they could offer more than a modest increase for the currently authorized vaccines. It might pave the way for Novavax should the study prove its jab is superior. 

Similarly, the data on the Pfizer vaccine offers the possibility that the offering from either Moderna or Novavax will be the premier selection for boosters in the months and (possibly) years ahead. While many assume the two messenger RNA drugs will perform the same, some data has suggested Moderna could be superior. Like so many vaccine questions over the past 18 months, investors will just have to wait for more data.

Jason Hawthorne owns shares of BioNTech SE. The Motley Fool recommends Moderna Inc. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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Stocks Mentioned

Moderna Inc. Stock Quote
Moderna Inc.
MRNA
$176.40 (-0.23%) $0.41
Pfizer Stock Quote
Pfizer
PFE
$49.21 (0.74%) $0.36
Novavax Stock Quote
Novavax
NVAX
$16.54 (-2.88%) $0.49
BioNTech SE Stock Quote
BioNTech SE
BNTX
$154.85 (-0.88%) $-1.38

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