What happened

Coronavirus stock BioNTech (NASDAQ:BNTX) was having a lively Monday. The German biotech's shares were up by over 4% in late afternoon trading, trouncing the gain of the frothy S&P 500 index. The world's concern about the omicron variant of the coronavirus is translating into renewed investor enthusiasm for COVID vaccine makers.

So what

While there is much that health authorities still don't know about omicron, they are taking the threat very seriously. On Monday, the World Health Organization (WHO) said that the risk it presents is "very high," although it added that more information is needed, and studies are being conducted to learn as much as possible about the variant.

A researcher studying a sample in a petri dish.

Image source: Getty Images.

BioNTech is one of the entities that's doing the studying. On Monday, Reuters reported that the company said it had begun work on a vaccine specifically tailored to prevent omicron. It did not say whether this will be a modification of the existing Comirnaty vaccine it developed in partnership with U.S. pharmaceutical sector giant Pfizer or a new product.

It's still too early to determine whether a vaccine specifically targeting omicron will be necessary, or if existing shots like Comirnaty are sufficient. BioNTech said that it anticipates more lab data over the next two weeks; this should help answer that question.

Now what

BioNTech is now a longtime soldier on the front line of the fight against the coronavirus. It's reassuring that the company is quickly and actively marshaling its forces against this new and potentially threatening variant. If omicron ends up being as threatening as feared, we can expect BioNTech to play a major role in tackling that threat.

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