World celeberates seeing American Covid vaccine on the horizon, while Dr Atta says Chinese vaccine would better suite Pakistan

Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine news delivers hope around the globe

News that Pfizer Inc’s PFE.N experimental Covid-19 vaccine is more than 90% effective based on initial trial results renewed hope on Monday among world leaders, scientists and global investors that the battle against a pandemic that has killed over a million people could be won.

The MSCI world equity index .MIWD00000PUS, which tracks shares in 49 countries, and the S&P 500 ESc1 touched all-time highs, lifted by stocks that were hit hard during the pandemic.

JPMorgan said on Monday it expected the S&P 500 index to hit 4,000 points by early 2021 and called Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine update “one of the best backdrops for sustained gains in years.”

US President Donald Trump


US President-Elect Joe Biden

A coronavirus vaccine approval process must be guided by science so the public can have confidence it is safe and effective, Biden said on Monday, warning that the United States is still facing a very dark winter and that a vaccine likely won’t be available for months.

“I implore you, wear a mask. Do it for yourself. Do it for your neighbour. A mask is not a political statement.”

US Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azad

“Pfizer will have to now pull together their data and submit it to the FDA where it will undergo an independent review process there,” Secretary Alex Azar told Fox News Channel, referring to the US Food and Drug Administration. “You should be thinking in the several week time period both for the submission and then review by FDA of the data.”

Bruce Aylward, a senior World Health official

“There is still much work to be done, this is just interim results…but some very positive results coming today which should hold great promise hopefully for the entire world as we move forward.”

Britain Prime Minister Boris Johnson

“I must stress that these are very, very early days, and we’ve talked for a long time, right about the distant bugle of the scientific cavalry coming over the brow of the hill.”

“I can tell you that tonight that today that toot, that bugle is louder, but it’s still some way off. We absolutely cannot rely on this news, as a solution.”

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

“We hope a vaccine is coming early next year. We’re seeing a light at the end of the tunnel.”

Germany’s Health Minister Jens Spahn

“If this should prove true … then it would be a good signal because it shows that this vaccine makes a difference,” Jens Spahn told a news conference, but added he was cautious on the timeline because there can always be setbacks.

Stephen Scherr, Goldman Sachs Chief Financial Officer

“We have the potential for a vaccine that could give rise to some reflationary outcomes for the economy, perhaps even more than stimulus alone would bring.

“I think that’s good for the economy and inevitably will be good for banks in the context of perhaps more slope to the yield curve than what we otherwise have experienced.”

John Bell, Regius Professor of Medicine at University of Oxford

“I’m really delighted with this result for no other reason than it shows you can make a vaccine against this little critter,” Bell told BBC Radio.

“Distribution of this is going to be challenging, and there’s a lot of complexities associated with that. But… that’s not the headline here. The headline is, we’ll solve those things if we need to.”

Chile’s President Sebastian Pinera

“I expect that, in the final analysis, it will be seen that Chile was hit hard by the pandemic and the global recession but managed to face it with unity, will and results that put Chile in a privilege position not only in the context of Latin America but also the world,” said Pinera.

Professor Massimo Clementi, Director of Microbiology at San Raffaele Hospital in Milan

“This is excellent news, though partly expected.”

“The most interesting aspect is that all these companies involved in the creation of a vaccine have started production while they were conducting the experimental phase. In other words, they tried to gain time on the production side by not derogating from the accuracy and completeness of the experimentation.”

Paul Craig, Portfolio Manager at Quilter Investors

“This vaccine is not a silver bullet. Many of the issues facing developed economies now are structural and a vaccine is not going to prevent the large scale unemployment we are likely to see as a result of the lockdowns of earlier this year.”

Mohammad Kazmi, Portfolio Manager for UBP’s Absolute Fixed Income Team

“Positive vaccine news from Pfizer takes us one step closer to FDA approval, which will allow for markets to become more comfortable with the growth recovery story. Any near-term blips will now be seen as temporary in nature, as investors will begin to assume that the vaccine will provide a more permanent solution.

“Although we expect for the low rates environment to be maintained in the medium term given the lack of inflation globally, we could see rates markets breathe as growth expectations for 2021 are revised higher.”

Karen Ward, Chief Markets Strategist EMEA, JP Morgan Asset Management

“News on the efficacy of a Covid-19 vaccine is an important piece of the puzzle needed for the global economy and markets to put the Covid-19 recession behind it. But hurdles still remain. We need to find out more about production capabilities, rollout and take-up.

“But for now this is shifting the winners and losers sectoral narrative that was created by Covid-19 and leading to a revival in value sectors such as energy and financials.

“Coupled with Biden’s win in the US election, and a more predictable multilateral approach to issues such as trade and climate change, the stage is set for a more balanced return trajectory – by sector, style and in turn by region.”

Carsten Brzeski, Global head of Macro

“The bigger driver of the economic outlook is from outside factors. Right now that means the development of a vaccine, which is why we are following news on this front closely.

“The base case we have already is that we are likely to get a vaccine by year-end and that it will be rolled (out). So we do see news like this as positive. The worrying sign would be if we get negative news, say on testing – that would hurt how we view the economic outlook.”

Russel Silbertson, Co-head of Developed Market FX & Rates, Asset Manager Ninety One

“If the bearish view embedded in markets was that there was no effective vaccine any time soon priced in, clearly that needs significant reprising now.

“You couple (this morning’s news) with the sheer weight of all the stimulus in markets, and that’s a very strong economic upside scenario.”

Chris Scicluna, Head of Economic Research, Daiwa Capital Markets, London

“The good news on the vaccine was always the upside risk for markets, and if it is developed and rolled out quickly, then that does support the recovery and reflation narrative.

“But we have do have to be careful that the number of patients reporting results (is) still very low, so we need to be perhaps cautiously optimistic about this news and look at a lot more results.

“The results have not been peer reviewed yet, but it is positive. They (Pfizer) are also upping their production forecasts and that is positive.”

Kenneth Broux, FX Strategist, Societe Generale

“The Covid-19 vaccine news adds to the positive risk tone in stocks and underpins high beta currencies vs the US dollar. Any positive news on a vaccine is good news for the world economy and offers perspective for a rebound/normalisation in 2021 growth.” .. Source

Dr Atta ur Rahman says Chinese vaccine would suite Pakistan better

KARACHI: Famed Pakistani scientist and Prime Minister Imran Khan’s aide on Science and Technology Dr Atta-ur-Rehman on Tuesday said that the coronavirus vaccine developed by a Chinese pharmaceutical firm is “better suited for Pakistan and other developed countries”.

Talking to Geo Pakistan regarding the Phyizer’s COVID-19 vaccine, Dr Atta said that “it is too early to celebrate” the success despite the manufacturer claiming that it is more than 90% effective.

“Pakistan is conducting trials of two Chinese vaccines which are also showing positive results,” he added.

“One Chinese vaccine, by Sinopharm, is in phase 3 clinical trials and has shown good results in multiple countries but they have not highlighted it like Pfizer and are working quietly,” said Dr Rehman. He added that the trial of the vaccine is being administered in Karachi University’s International Centre for Chemical and Biological Sciences and Indus Hospital.

The Task Force chairman also said that the company has also committed to giving the vaccine to Pakistan at “reasonable rates”. He shared that another Chinese vaccine’s phase 3 clinical trial is being administered at the National Institute of Health.

Dr Rehman said that Chinese vaccines can also be transported in normal temperatures and do not have to be kept at -80°C degrees which he believes makes it better “suited for Pakistan and third world countries”.

“There are 12 company’s who’s vaccine are in phase 3 of clinical trial and Pfizer was one of them. And Chinese companies are ahead,” said Dr Rehman.

‘Phizer vaccine has 5 problems’

Dr Atta ur Rehman said that in his opinion Pfizer vaccine was not suitable for Pakistan due to various reasons.

“We should not think much about this vaccine, instead focus on other vaccines that are being developed and have seen similar results but haven’t been announced with fanfare. They are working quietly,” said Dr Rehman.

Explaining his reasoning, the scientist said he is cautioning because he believes that the vaccine has “five problems” to deal with right now.

“The first problem is that the US drug regulatory authority has not given the approval, which will take two months,” said Dr Rehman. He added that the regulatory bodies will have to see the results first then allow the company to move on to the next stage of the vaccine finalisation process.

The other problem that the scientist highlighted was that the vaccine needs to be kept at a temperature of -80 °C, which in his view was a major problem for third world countries, including Pakistan.

The former HEC chairman said that the third world countries, including Pakistan, do not have the “cold chain” that will allow them to transport the vaccine in required temperatures from the point of origin to the hospitals.

“The third biggest problem is that you do not know for how many days it is effective,” said Dr Rehman. He explained that right now there was no “evidence or any result” that has been seen by Pfizer and BioNTech to determine its effectiveness.

“In the beginning, it is effective but [you don’t know] for how many months the anti-bodies remain in your body,” said Dr Rehman.

The other two problems shared by Dr Rehman was of large scale production which he feels would take a year to reach subject to the vaccine passing all the steps required. The last problem he shared was of the price of the vaccine.

‘Pfizer vaccine over 90% effective’

Large-scale trials of a coronavirus vaccine candidate produced by Pfizer/BioNTech has revealed that it is 90% effective, said the manufacturer in a statement on Monday.

In what is being touted as possibly the biggest news regarding the virus ever since it originated, the vaccine’s effectiveness can mean in can hit the markets for treatment by the year’s end in some countries of the world.

The study shows that people who received two doses as part of the trial saw 90% fewer symptomatic cases of COVID-19 than participants who were given a placebo.

“Today is a great day for science and humanity. The first set of results from our phase 3 COVID-19 vaccine trial provides the initial evidence of our vaccine’s ability to prevent Covid-19,” said Dr Albert Bourla, the Pfizer chairman and chief executive.

The study focused on 94 participants out of a total number of 43,000 people. These participants were offered the two-dose vaccine and 28 days after they received their first inoculation, remained protected.

“To me, this is the best possible outcome,” Ugur Sahin, co-founder and chief executive of BioNTech told the Financial Times.

Pfizer expects to produce 50 million vaccine doses in 2020 and up to 1.3 billion doses by 2021. .. Source

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