Biotech stocks soared as two new human cases of bird flu emerged

Stay up to date with free updates

Shares of vaccine makers including Moderna and BioNTech rose sharply on Wednesday after Australia reported its first case of H5N1 bird flu in humans and the US detected a third, raising concerns about the greater likelihood of spread.

Health authorities in the Australian state of Victoria on Wednesday reported a case of bird flu in a child who was infected during a trip to India and later fully recovered. Michigan state health authorities also confirmed they had detected a case of bird flu in a dairy worker who had contact with infected cattle.

Avian influenza has spread widely in U.S. livestock herds, having been detected in nine states in the current outbreak. The two new human cases bring the total number of human bird flu infections detected this year to eight worldwide but they add to concerns among health officials on alert for a new virus. spread to the human population, just one year after the official end of the avian flu epidemic. Covid-19 pandemic.

Other signs of avian flu transmission prove a boon to the focus on vaccines biotechnology involved in the Covid-19 rollout whose share prices have fallen from pandemic highs as investors have fallen out of favor with them because of weak demand. Investors are betting that companies will once again be at the forefront of fighting the next pandemic, should it materialize.

Clare Looker, Victoria’s chief health officer, said the case involved an H5N1 strain not linked to outbreaks in the US. A separate H7 strain of bird flu has also been detected at an egg farm near Melbourne, initial laboratory tests show. Australia was previously the only continent whose animals were not affected by bird flu.

Looker said contact tracing efforts have not detected any further cases and emphasized that the risk of further transmission is low because there is no evidence of person-to-person transmission.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Wednesday that the Michigan case does not change the agency’s assessment that the human health risk is low but it “underscores the importance” of people Regular contact with infected animals must take necessary precautions. The CDC has increased surveillance testing among farm workers.

Shares of Germany-based CureVac, which announced an early-stage H5N1 vaccine trial in partnership with GSK last month, rose 18.8% to $3.91.

Shares of Moderna rose 13.7% to $163.33, after rising about 50% in the past month. Moderna said on Wednesday that it is in discussions with the US government about advancing its pandemic influenza candidate through clinical trials after completing a mid-stage trial using its mRNA vaccine technology. to target the H5 family of influenza viruses, of which the H5N1 strain is a part.

Germany-based BioNTech closed up 11% at $102.30. Novavax, which is conducting preclinical trials of a vaccine targeting three different H5N1 strains, rose 5.3% to $15.70.

In a prepared statement, Novavax told the Financial Times that its vaccine platform “could be an attractive asset from a pandemic preparedness perspective as existing avian influenza vaccines generate limited immune response”.

The pandemic delivered a windfall for vaccine makers like Moderna and BioNTech, whose first products were approved as Covid vaccines, but since then, investors have been unhappy with this group when the pandemic has passed and the need for vaccination has gradually decreased.

According to officials, US health authorities have a stockpile of several hundred thousand doses of vaccine effective against bird flu. US officials have also previously said existing partnerships with three vaccine manufacturers – GSK, CSL Seqirus and Sanofi – would allow production to increase by millions of doses if a pandemic occurs.


News 7F: Update the world's latest breaking news online of the day, breaking news, politics, society today, international mainstream news .Updated news 24/7: Entertainment, the World everyday world. Hot news, images, video clips that are updated quickly and reliably

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button