What's going on?
Drugmakers Pfizer and BioNTech announced on Monday that their coronavirus vaccine is more than 90% effective, and investors completely geeked out.
What does this mean?
Pfizer and BioNTech pooled their resources back in March to rustle up a COVID-19 vaccine more quickly, and the move seems to have paid off: they’re the very first drugmakers to release successful data from a large-scale clinical trial. The companies said they’ve found no serious safety concerns so far, and they’re planning to go after US authorization for emergency use of the vaccine later this month. They have supply agreements with the European Union, UK, Canada, and Japan too, and are expected to produce up to 50 million doses this year – enough for 25 million people – and 1.3 billion doses in 2021.
Why should I care?
For markets: And the second prize goes to…
Pfizer and BioNTech’s shares shot up on the news, which raised hopes that other in-development vaccines will also turn out to be effective. We’ll know soon enough: Moderna’s expected to release the results of its trial later this month, while Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca should have data by the end of the year. This whole “science” thing looks like it could catch on, you know…
The bigger picture: November saves 2020.
A vaccine is the single best way to end both the health and economic crises, which might be why global stock markets surged on the news. And they were already feeling pretty good to begin with: last week was global stocks’ best since April this year, as it became increasingly likely that Joe Biden would win the US presidency (spoiler: he did). With that big question out of the way, investors are expecting trade relations to improve and the global economy to get a boost. Throw in a dash of vaccine, and you’ve got yourself a record-breaking recipe: global stock markets hit an all-time high on Monday, and trading apps buckled under investors’ excitement (tweet this).