AstraZeneca, Still Unsure Of Need For COVID-19 Booster

Pascal Soriot, CEO of AstraZeneca plc (NASDAQ:AZN), said the company still doesn’t know if a third dose of its COVID-19 vaccine will be necessary to m...

second quarter

This story originally appeared on ValueWalk

Pascal Soriot, CEO of AstraZeneca plc (NASDAQ:AZN), said the company still doesn’t know if a third dose of its COVID-19 vaccine will be necessary to maintain protection against the virus.

Q2 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more

Time Will Tell

Soriot told CNBC: “There are two dimensions to this immunity — antibodies [which] decline over time, but the second, very important dimension of vaccination is the so-called T-cells. They tend to protect people against severe disease, but they also provide durability.”

“With the technology we use, we have very high production of T-cells. We’re hoping we can have a durable vaccine that protects for a long period of time. So whether we will need a third booster or not, is not clear yet, only time will tell.”

Soriot said the company needs to track the vaccine’s effectiveness over time to see if a third shot would be necessary.

“We know that [our vaccine] has a decline of antibodies [over time] –we haven’t seen yet a decline of efficacy but it’s a bit early to judge, only time will tell, and I hope the T-cells will provide this durable, long-term protection.”

Earnings Report

According to its earnings report disclosed on Thursday, AstraZeneca accrued revenue of $1.2 million from its COVID-19 vaccine during the first half of the year.

“The income from the vaccine sales helped the Anglo-Swedish pharmaceutical giant increase its total revenue for the first half by 23% to $15.5 billion.”

Further, AstraZeneca’s earnings from the vaccine more than tripled in the second quarter in comparison to the previous three months. With the vaccine revenues out of the equation, its income during the first semester grew by 14% when compared to the same period last year.

The company updated its full-year guidance right after the acquisition of pharmaceutical company Alexion, “predicting total revenue to increase by a low 20s percentage.”

COVID-19 income was not included in the guidance, due to “heightened risks and uncertainties from the effects of Covid-19, including the impact from potential new medicines for Covid-19 in clinical development.”

According to Bloomberg data, nearly 4 billion shots of Covid vaccines have been administered around the globe, with vaccination plans already rolling in 214 countries and territories, most of which have approved the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine for use.

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