Vexing vaccine delays hit drug firms

AstraZeneca and Pfizer are being attacked by the EU over what it claims are delays in delivering the Covid vaccine.

Drug companies AstraZeneca and Pfizer are being attacked by the EU over vaccine delivery delays that could slow the EU’s recovery from Covid-19, says Julia Horowitz on CNN. Pfizer’s problems look likely to be resolved soon, however, while AstraZeneca says “considerably fewer” doses will be supplied for some time. With AstraZeneca’s jab due to be approved by Europe’s regulator shortly, “mounting” anger means that Brussels and several countries are “threatening to take legal action and introduce export controls on doses produced in the bloc” (see page 8).

AstaZeneca’s announcement will prolong the “misery and pain” of Covid-19, says Aimee Donnellan on Breakingviews. Still, problems were “inevitable” as the vaccine, developed by the University of Oxford, is made “through a complicated biological process, requiring constant fine-tuning and vast 4,000-litre fermenters, which are in short supply”.

AstraZeneca’s problems are good news for the jab produced by Janssen, Johnson & Johnson’s European vaccine division, which the EU has pre-ordered in large amounts, says the Irish Times. Like the AstraZeneca jab, it doesn’t require “ultra-cold storage temperatures”; but unlike all its major competitors, it also involves a single injection, “greatly simplifying... a national vaccine rollout”. With trial data expected in the next few days, the vaccine is set to receive approval from the US Food and Drug Administration sometime in February, with the nod from the European Medicines Agency expected not long afterwards. 

Recommended

How to invest in biotechnology: the healthcare sector’s high-growth area
Biotech stocks

How to invest in biotechnology: the healthcare sector’s high-growth area

Dr Mike Tubbs provides an overview of this thriving industry, whose latest triumphs include the Covid-19 vaccines. He examines the best investment str…
14 May 2021
Three winners of the long-term biotech boom
Share tips

Three winners of the long-term biotech boom

Professional investor Marek Poszepcynski of the International Biotechnology Trust picks three biotech stocks with good pipelines, strong management te…
22 Mar 2021
European stockmarkets will bounce back
European stockmarkets

European stockmarkets will bounce back

Last year was one to forget for European stockmarkets. But 2021 should prove better.
8 Jan 2021

Most Popular

How will Joe Biden’s capital gains tax rise affect crypto prices?
Bitcoin & crypto

How will Joe Biden’s capital gains tax rise affect crypto prices?

The US president wants to increase capital gains tax – and that’s going to hit a lot of American cryptocurrency speculators. Saloni Sardana looks at h…
14 May 2021
US stocks look expensive – here’s what to own instead
Investment strategy

US stocks look expensive – here’s what to own instead

Right now, US stocks are among the most expensive in the world. So if you want a decent return on your investments, you should look into diversifying …
17 May 2021
Inheritance tax planning: the rules around gifting
Inheritance tax

Inheritance tax planning: the rules around gifting

There are plenty of legal ways to minimise an inheritance tax bill. Perhaps the simplest is to give away assets to reduce the size of your estate. Dav…
11 May 2021