AstraZeneca Aims to Deliver COVID-19 Vaccine By Year-End

AstraZeneca Aims to Deliver COVID-19 Vaccine By Year-End
September 11, 2020


AstraZeneca PLC (NYSE: AZN) has announced that before the end of this year, the company will be able to precisely reveal whether its vaccine under trial has the ability to safeguard people from COVID-19. While making the announcement, Pascal Soriot, CEO of AstraZeneca, clarified that the statement is based on the assumption that it will be able to restart trials soon. The stock ended Thursday’s trading session at $53.07, down $0.57 or 1.06% from the prior close.

The Cambridge, UK based company has terminated late-stage clinical trials earlier this week after a volunteer fell ill. The patient showed symptoms related to an unusual spinal inflammatory disorder referred to as transverse myelitis.

In India, the Serum Institute of India has announced that it is stopping the trial of the potential COVID-19 vaccine developed by AstraZeneca in partnership with Oxford University until the company resumes trials. Notably, the Serum Institute of India had received a show-cause notice from the Drug Controller’s General of India (DGCI).

Regarding the halting of the trial, the Serum Institute of India issued the following statement: “We are reviewing the situation and pausing India trials till AstraZeneca restarts the trials. We are following DCGI’s instructions.”

The drug regulator, in the show-cause notice, has pointed out that clinical trials have been temporarily suspended in the USA, the UK, Brazil, and South Africa.

The vaccine is undergoing phase 3 trials, which is the last stage before safety and efficacy data will be presented to relevant regulators for final approval. Over 50,000 people across the globe have volunteered in the clinical trial to assess whether the vaccine, named AZD1222, can create an immune response to coronavirus infection.

During an online meeting, Soriot stated that AstraZeneca is yet to know the full details surrounding the diagnosis, and there is no clarity as to whether the volunteer was already suffering from transverse myelitis. The company stated that more tests are required to ascertain the situation. Soriot further stated that all data pertaining to the trial and diagnosis would be submitted to an autonomous safety committee, which would then inform the company as to whether the trials can be restarted.

Soriot clarified that suspension of a vaccine trial is not abnormal and regularly happens in cases of other companies as well. Notably, the World Health Organization (WHO) had praised AstraZeneca’s potential vaccine as the “most promising” for the treatment of COVID-19.

At the Tortoise Media conference, Soriot said, “It’s very common, actually, and many experts will tell you this. The difference with other vaccine trials is, the whole world is not watching them, of course. They stop, they study, and they restart.”

Despite the setback, the CEO is hopeful of getting the COVID-19 vaccine ready by 2020 or early 2021. Soriot also stated that AstraZeneca would deliver vaccines to contracted countries concurrently to guarantee impartial and equal distribution. He pointed out that the company has the ability to produce 3 billion doses of the vaccine at facilities established across the world to stop governments from limiting distribution.

The news of the suspension of the trial has raised concerns about the possibility of delivering a COVID-19 vaccine before the year-end, as promised earlier. Therefore, the stock is expected to remain range-bound with a slight bearish bias in the near-term.

Technically, the stock is facing resistance at 55. The next support is anticipated only near 45. The MACD histogram has a negative reading. Therefore, we are anticipating the stock to remain bearish in the short-term.

azn - technical analysis - 11th September 2020

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Janine is our editor for related stock market news. Andrew and Janine will be focusing on providing the latest trends and where the next hit could be

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