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AstraZeneca Covid Vaccine Appears Effective Against Brazil Variant: Report

The AstraZeneca (AZN) and University of Oxford coronavirus vaccine is effective against the Brazil variant, according to a report. But AstraZeneca stock remained muted Friday.




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Preliminary data from an Oxford study indicates the vaccine won’t need to be modified to target the mutation out of Brazil, a source reportedly told Reuters. The news could be a boon for AstraZeneca stock after other reports suggested it offers minimal protection against a variant out of South Africa.

But in morning trading on the stock market today, AstraZeneca stock advanced 0.5% near 47.50. Shares are below their 50-day and 200-day moving averages, according to MarketSmith.com.

AstraZeneca Stock: Covid Vaccine Testing

Experts have been concerned mutations in the virus that causes Covid-19 would undo vaccines from companies like Pfizer (PFE), Moderna (MRNA) and Johnson & Johnson (JNJ). So far, it appears the vaccines can target a variation first identified in the U.K. But the Brazil and South Africa variants appear trickier.

This is due to where the mutations occur. Most vaccines go after the infamous spike protein coating the outside of the virus. The South Africa and Brazil variants share a mutation called E484K that impacts antibodies’ ability to grab onto the virus. Without that, the virus can escape and replicate.

AstraZeneca stock has been under pressure since reports indicated its vaccine couldn’t effectively tackle Covid-19 caused by the South Africa variant. Officials in South Africa halted the rollout of the vaccine following the reports.

Other Vaccines Already Authorized

Representatives of AstraZeneca didn’t immediately return a request for comment.

Although AstraZeneca’s vaccine is authorized in other countries, it hasn’t gained a blessing from the Food and Drug Administration.

The AstraZeneca vaccine proved roughly 70% effective in testing. But that trails vaccines from Pfizer with development partner BioNTech (BNTX) and Moderna. Johnson & Johnson’s recently FDA-authorized vaccine is 66% effective overall, but it only requires one shot.

On a year-to-date basis, AstraZeneca stock has fallen more than 5%.

Follow Allison Gatlin on Twitter at @IBD_AGatlin.

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