HempFusion Wellness Inc. (TSX:CBD.U)
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AstraZeneca (NASDAQ:AZN) ADRs are continuing the losses from yesterday in premarket trading amid reports that German health authorities have recommended its COVID-19 vaccine only for those aged 18-64 years.
“There are currently insufficient data available to assess the vaccine efficacy from 65 years of age,” Germany’s vaccine committee has said in an update to its vaccine recommendation.
“The AstraZeneca vaccine, unlike the mRNA vaccines, should only be offered to people aged 18-64 years at each stage,” read a committee resolution issued by the German health ministry on Thursday.
Early in the week, the company rejected the reports of low efficacy attributed to its COVID-19 vaccine co-developed with the University of Oxford.
Recently IPO’d telehealth platform Hims & Hers Health (NYSE:HIMS) rose ~27.3% today after Cathie Wood’s ARK Investment Management disclosed an ownership position in the company.
Founded in 2017, HIMS went public last week after a reverse merger with the blank-check company Oaktree Acquisition Group (NYSE:OAC).
Health officials and researchers have been racing to determine whether COVID-19 vaccines will work against new variants as governments across the globe roll out jabs they hope will reopen schools and businesses. A new Pfizer (NYSE:PFE) laboratory study has found that coronavirus mutations identified in the U.K. and South Africa strain had only small impacts on the effectiveness of antibodies generated by the company’s vaccine.
The fine print: The research is preliminary, has yet to be peer-reviewed, and was only tested only a subset of mutations found in the variants (not the variants themselves). The researchers also didn’t assess whether their results were statistically significant.
The findings are still consistent with other preliminary results reported in recent weeks by several research groups, but precautions are being taken. Moderna (NASDAQ:MRNA) this week said it would develop a booster shot for the South Africa variant, while President Biden restricted travel from South Africa and re-established a ban on most incoming travel from Europe, the U.K. and Brazil.
Outlook: White House health advisor, Dr. Anthony Fauci, said Pfizer and Moderna’s vaccines could be easily adapted to target new strains of the virus, something the drugmakers are already working on. “We’re already trying to stay one or two steps ahead of the game so that if, in fact, we have a situation where the South African strain is prevalent here… you want to really get ahead of it from a protection standpoint.”