Google Chrome and Microsoft Edge are in the process of rolling out a version update which is impacting some nabtrade functionality, including buy/sell buttons and certain page loads. If you are a Chrome or Edge user and are experiencing these problems, please visit the following FAQ to review the steps that need to be taken to prevent this issue from occurring.
“I think when people tell the public that there's going to be a vaccine by the end of 2020, they do a grave disservice to the public ... Let me just give you one data point. In the last quarter century, there have only been seven, truly new vaccines introduced globally at the clinical practice. Merck has four, the rest of the world has three.” - Ken Frazier, CEO of Merck
The level of optimism in equity markets and society in general regarding the progress on developing a vaccine for COVID-19 has certainly been increasing.
The world is desperate for vaccine updates and is putting the recovery of the economy and the reduction in the health crisis on the line. So much so, it’s like the vaccine is almost fully developed and trialled.
I am not sure how many of this readership has been personally exposed to vaccines. Sure, the flu shot is common, but if people think the vaccine for COVID-19 will be like receiving a flu shot, they could be in for a very rude and thought-provoking wake-up call.
Not all vaccines are as simple and benign as the influenza virus.
Growing up in Papua New Guinea, my entire family was given the smallpox vaccination. My father at the time in the early 1970s was 35 and he took us to the doctors to get jabbed. The negative side-effects of the smallpox injection were known at the time but we had little choice as it was a legal requirement to be inoculated prior to travelling to PNG.
The impact it had on my dad was horrible. He spent four days in hospital and three weeks in bed. He was very, very sick. If this type of side-effect is what could be expected from any COVID-19 vaccination, how many people will want a vaccination and can the hospitals cope with the negative side-effects?
The search for a vaccine is front of mind in the pharmaceutical industry, with some 160 individual programmes under way. In recent times, Moderna Inc has been in the news with some positive results from a Phase 1 clinical trial across 45 healthy adults. All participants in the trial showed an antibody response.
Antibodies are the proteins the body makes to fight infection. Being safe to use in 45 people is not the same as being safe for say 20 or 200 million people that would need vaccinations in the US alone, but the market is rewarding Moderna.
Source: Morningstar Direct
Ken Frazier, CEO of pharmaceutical giant Merck, was interviewed recently by Professor Tsedal Neeley from Harvard Business School. If there was ever a rational discussion on the topic in my view, it was this.
I will summarise his interview with the following bullet points.
With these sage words lingering in your mind, let’s hope that when a Phase 3 trial for the Moderna vaccine gets under way, a trial that will involve thousands of patients, the results of the safety and efficacy will be such that a reliable vaccine can be developed.
Just be conscious that it will be a miracle if it is developed before the end of 2020, and if you believe Ken Frazier, 2025 is a more realistic time frame.
A free subscription for nabtrade clients is available here.