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The discovery of another Covid variant has raised new concerns about the ability of existing vaccines to protect against the mutating virus — and whether they’ll need to be updated. Several countries, including the U.S., said they would restrict travel from South Africa and seven other countries because of concerns over the omicron variant. Moderna said it was testing existing boosters to see if they could be used against the omicron variant. That may turn out to be the case with the omicron variant, too. The omicron variant has raised legitimate worries based on a limited amount of data from South Africa and elsewhere, Kennedy said.
Persons: Jinal Bhiman, Bhiman, ” Bhiman, Moderna, ” David Kennedy, Kennedy, , Deepti Gurdasani, ” Gurdasani, Organizations: World Health Organization, National Institute, omicron, Pfizer, Penn State University, Queen Mary University of London Locations: Africa, South Africa, U.S, United States
Stocks tumble on new coronavirus variant fear
  + stars: | 2021-11-27 | by ( Chuck Mikolajczak | ) www.reuters.com   time to read: +4 min
The NYSE Arca Airline index fell 6.45% in its biggest one-day percentage decline since September 2020. The domestically focused Russell 2000 small-cap index fell 3.67%. Both the S&P 500 and small cap Russell index posted their biggest one-day percentage drops since Feb. 25. The S&P 500 banks index dropped 3.87% as investors dialed back expectations of faster U.S. interest rate hikes. The S&P 500 posted seven new 52-week highs and 23 new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 18 new highs and 334 new lows.
Persons: Keith Buchanan, Andrew Kelly Read, Russell, Jerome Powell, Joe Biden, Stocks, advancers, Medha Singh, Devik Jain, Mayur, Sruthi Shankar, Maju Samuel Organizations: Pfizer, Dow, Nasdaq, Authorities, European Union, Carnival Corp, Royal Caribbean Cruises, Cruise, Delta Air Lines, American Airlines, NYSE, reuters.com, Pfizer Inc, Moderna Inc, Global Investments, Wall, New York Stock Exchange, REUTERS, Dow Jones, Netflix Inc, Video Communications, Thomson Locations: South Africa, United Airlines, Atlanta, Manhattan , New York City, U.S, Bengaluru
Scientists are still waiting on more data to determine if Omicron poses a greater public health threat than Delta. Preliminary evidence suggests Omicron may increase the risk of reinfection relative to other concerning variants, the World Health Organization said Friday. Hong Kong reported its first Omicron case last week — a 36-year-old man who had recently visited South Africa. Botswana's health ministry also confirmed four Omicron cases among fully vaccinated travelers in a statement on Friday. (South Africa has fully vaccinated just 24% of its population so far; compared to 59% in the US.)
Persons: Angelique Coetzee, Pfizer's COVID, , They're, Jetelina Organizations: South African Medical Association, Guardian, Service, North America, Omicron, World Health Organization, Hong Kong's Center for Health Protection, CHP, WHO, UTHealth School of Public Health Locations: South Africa, Europe, Asia, North, Botswana, Hong Kong, Israel, Belgium, Africa
The U.S. has not found any cases of the new omicron Covid variant so far, the CDC said late Friday, referring to a heavily mutated strain of the virus that has been classified as a "variant of concern" by the World Health Organization. "No cases of this variant have been identified in the U.S. to date," according to the statement by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "CDC is continuously monitoring variants and the U.S. variant surveillance system has reliably detected new variants in this country. The newly identified strain — referred to as lineage B.1.1.529 — was first detected in South Africa and raised concerns due to the rapid rise in the number of coronavirus cases in the country's Gauteng province. The UN health agency only designates Covid strains as variants of concern when they're more transmissible, more virulent or more adept at evading vaccines and therapeutics.
Persons: 1.1.529 — Organizations: Pfizer, BioNTech, Jewish Health, omicron, CDC, World Health Organization, Centers for Disease Control Locations: Denver , Colorado, The U.S, U.S, South Africa, Gauteng, UN
Oil barrels are pictured at the site of Canadian group Vermilion Energy in Parentis-en-Born, France, October 13, 2017. Oil fell with global equities markets on fears the variant, could dampen economic growth and fuel demand. The World Health Organization has designated the new variant, which it named Omicron, as "of concern," according to the South African health minister. read moreBrent crude settled down $9.50, or 11.6%, to $72.72 a barrel, a weekly decline of more than 8%. OPEC+ is also monitoring developments around the variant, sources said on Friday, with some expressing concern that it may worsen the oil market outlook less than a week before a meeting to set policy.
Persons: Regis, Brent, Bob Yawger, WTI, Craig Erlam, BioNTech, Naledi Pandor, Tamas Varga, Laura Sanicola, Jessica Resnick, Ault, Shadia Nasralla, Marguerita Choy, Kirsten Donovan, Elaine Hardcastle Organizations: Vermilion Energy, REUTERS, World Health Organization, United, U.S . West Texas, Mizuho, OANDA, Pfizer, of, Petroleum, International Energy Agency, Thomson Locations: Parentis, France, South Africa, United States, Canada, Britain, Guatemala, Africa, U.S, OPEC, Botswana, Hong Kong, Israel, New York, London
U.S. stocks dropped sharply on Friday as a new Covid variant found in South Africa triggered a global shift away from from risk assets. The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 900 points, or 2.5 percent, while the S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite slid 1.8 percent and 1.5 percent, respectively. The downward moves came after WHO officials on Thursday warned of a new Covid-19 variant that’s been detected in South Africa. The new variant contains more mutations to the spike protein, the component of the virus that binds to cells, than the highly contagious Delta variant. The Nasdaq is down 2.7 percent for the week, while the S&P 500 and Dow are off 1.8 percent and 1.9 percent, respectively.
Persons: I’m, ” CNBC’s Jim Cramer, Bitcoin, Paul Hickey, Ajene Oden, Organizations: Dow Jones, Nasdaq, WHO, Japan’s Nikkei, Carnival Corp, Royal, United Airlines, Delta Air Lines, American Airlines, Boeing, Marriott International, Bank, Bank of America, Citigroup, Caterpillar, Dow Inc, Chevron, Moderna, Pfizer, Netflix, CNBC, BNY Mellon Investor Solutions, Dow Locations: South Africa, United Kingdom, Israel, Hong Kong, Belgium, Botswana, Asia, Royal Caribbean
Johnson & Johnson’s JNJ -0.28% Covid-19 vaccine hasn’t been the booster shot of choice. People at a vaccination site in Indianapolis in April arrived to get an initial shot of Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose Covid-19 vaccine. “For the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, Moderna provided the best amount of antibodies,” she said. The defections from J&J’s vaccine might partly reflect studies showing that it is less effective at preventing Covid-19 than the other U.S.-authorized shots. A rare but serious blood-clotting condition has been reported in a small number of recipients of the J&J vaccine, primarily in women younger than 50.
Persons: Johnson, Johnson’s, Michelle Pemberton, Jessica Gálvez, Gálvez, , Jacob Reynolds, Moderna’s, You’re, Kirsten Lyke, Moderna’s Covid, Denise Cathey, Mathai Mammen, Lyke, Denise Roland, Peter Loftus Organizations: J, U.S . Centers for Disease Control, Moderna Inc, CDC, Pfizer Inc, Pfizer, Moderna, Oxford University, AstraZeneca PLC, BioNTech, National Institute of Allergy, University of Maryland School of Medicine, peter.loftus Locations: Indianapolis, Sun Valley, Calif, U.S, Covid, , Texas
U.S. Economy Could Enjoy Post-Holiday Glow
  + stars: | 2021-11-26 | by ( Justin Lahart | ) www.wsj.com   time to read: +3 min
Even in normal times, the shift in the economy from December to January is abrupt. Consumer spending drops, highway and airline traffic thins and hundreds of thousands of workers brought on temporarily for the holidays leave their jobs. Covid-19 cases are, unfortunately, rising, and there is a danger that this year’s holiday gatherings and travel will only exacerbate the increase. That said, predicting where Covid-19 cases might be headed is something of a fraught exercise. Already 37 million people have gotten their boosters, and more children are now getting vaccinated: The virus’s opportunities for transmission could decline.
Persons: Justin Lahart Organizations: JPMorgan Chase, Pfizer, Merck
U.S. health regulators are expected to make public on Friday a staff review about the promising Covid-19 pill from Merck MRK -0.63% & Co. and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics LP. CELL BASES 1. RNA molnupiravir The shape of the molnupiravir molecule resembles one of these bases. VIRUS RNA 2. VIRUS RNA Once an RNA molecule is complete, it gets packaged into a new viral coating and exported from the cell.
Persons: mucking, Jacob Reynolds, Merck, Biden, Jared S, Hopkins, Betsy McKay Organizations: Merck MRK, Food and Drug Administration, Pfizer Inc, FDA, Merck, Pfizer Locations: Covid, jared.hopkins, betsy.mckay
The South African rand plunged to a one-year low against the dollar, while safe havens such as gold and the Swiss franc soared. Global shares tumbled Friday after the emergence of a new COVID-19 variant sent investors fleeing riskier assets, driving the South African rand to a one-year low, and lifting gold and other safe-havens. South African scientists said Thursday they had detected small numbers of a new variant of COVID-19 that could prove more transmissible. The South African rand plunged almost 2% to its lowest against the dollar in a year, while yields on benchmark 10-year South African government bonds shot up by 26 basis points to 9.99%, the highest since May 2020. South African bonds are less liquid and more volatile than US Treasurys, but this was the biggest one-day rise since March this year.
Persons: Jennalynn Fung, Dow Jones, , IG, Hong, Jim Reid, Frankfurt's DAX Organizations: Pfizer, Swiss, Dow, Global, Nasdaq, Reuters, The, World Health Organization, Tokyo's Nikkei, Shanghai, Deutsche Bank Locations: South Africa, Europe, Austria, Italy, London
Peloton shares have lost 55% of their value in the past month after an alarming earnings report that sent executives into damage-control mode. One market expert then shared four growth stocks that are more attractive than Zoom. "I increasingly believe that the pandemic was actually a negative catalyst for Peloton," Siegel said. In mid-October, three months before Peloton's stock peaked, Zoom shares closed at a record high of $559. DocuSign (DOCU) is another 2020 standout that will survive the pandemic, Kulina said.
Persons: Joel Kulina, who've, , doesn't, Simeon Siegel, He's, Siegel, he's, James Hardiman, Wedbush's Kulina, Kulina, Zoom, Peter Levine, it's, Levine, Five9, they've, Dan Springer, They've Organizations: Wedbush Securities, Interactive, CNBC, BMO Capital Markets, Bulls, Pfizer, ISI, Microsoft, Google
Cruise stocks were also getting rocked: Royal Caribbean (RCL) slid 10.6%, Carnival (CCL) took a 10.5% hit, and Norwegian (NCLH) fell 10%. Stay-at-home stocks – Stocks that benefited from Covid-19 closures rebounded, with Zoom Video (ZM) gaining 7.8% in premarket trading, DocuSign (DOCU) up 3%, Netflix (NFLX) higher by 2.2% and Peloton (PTON) jumping 6.2%. However, that was a lower efficacy rate than was seen in an earlier study, and Merck fell 3% in premarket trading. Didi Global (DIDI) – Didi has been asked by Chinese regulators to delist from the New York Stock Exchange, according to a Bloomberg report. Didi slid 6.3% in premarket action.
Persons: Ridgeback Biotherapeutics, Didi Global, DIDI, – Didi, Didi, – Tesla, Tesla, Lockheed Martin, Sweden's, Satya Nadella Organizations: DAL, JetBlue, Royal, , Netflix, Pfizer, Merck, New York Stock Exchange, Bloomberg, Beijing Daily, Micron Technology, Micron, United Microelectronics, United, Boeing, Canadian Press, Sweden's Saab, Microsoft, SEC Locations: Delta, Covid, Shanghai, Taiwan, Canada, China
The B.1.1.529 variant has been detected in South Africa, Botswana, Hong Kong, and Israel. BioNTech said it would know in two weeks whether its shot works against the variant. Scientists and health officials are closely tracking the B.1.1.529 variant detected in South Africa, Botswana, Hong Kong, and Israel. "We understand the concern of experts and have immediately initiated investigations on variant B.1.1.529," BioNTech told Insider. It is currently unknown whether the mutations make the B.1.1.529 variant more infectious or deadly.
Persons: BioNTech, 1.1.529 Organizations: Financial Times, Service, Pfizer, BioNTech, South Africa's Department of Health, Beta Locations: South Africa, Botswana, Hong Kong, Israel, Africa, Malawi, Gauteng
Stay-at-home stock plays like Zoom Video and Peloton also jumped as new lockdowns loom. Shares of companies that benefitted from the pandemic rallied Friday as the discovery of a new coronavirus variant in South Africa raised alarms and triggered lockdowns. Zoom Video rose 10%, and Peloton leapt 8% after diving earlier on quarterly results that showed user growth had been slowing. The new variant, B.1.1.529, has been identified mostly in Botswana and South Africa, as well as Hong Kong, according to the World Health Organization. The WHO and health officials from South Africa, where most of the cases have been detected, are scheduled to discuss the variant Friday.
Persons: Moderna's COVID, Matthias Bein, BioNTech Organizations: Getty, Moderna, Pfizer, BioNTech, World Health Organization, WHO Locations: South Africa, Botswana, Hong Kong, Austria, Slovakia, Netherlands, Belgium
Friday's sharp decline for stocks, spurred by concerns over a new Covid-19 variant, is not a buying opportunity, according to CNBC's Jim Cramer. And I can't be sure that it won't," he said Friday on CNBC's "Squawk on the Street." And I would rather buy from those people on Monday than I would buy from them today," he said. So potentially lower liquidity is causing some of the pullback," Ajene Oden of BNY Mellon Investor Solutions said on CNBC's "Squawk Box." "But the reaction we're seeing is a buying opportunity for investors.
Persons: Jim Cramer, I'm, Cramer, Ajene Oden, Jim Cramer's, Jesse Pound Organizations: Dow Jones, World, Pfizer, Chevron, BNY Mellon Investor Solutions, CNBC, Club Locations: South Africa
Share Share Article via Facebook Share Article via Twitter Share Article via LinkedIn Share Article via EmailHere's how drugmakers are responding to the new 5.1.1.529 Covid variantCNBC's Meg Tirrell joins 'Squawk Box' to report on how Covid-19 drugmakers like Moderna and Pfizer are responding to the worrisome coronavirus variant detected in South Africa.
Persons: Meg Tirrell Organizations: Moderna, Pfizer Locations: South Africa
Check out the companies making headlines in midday trading Friday:United Airlines, American Airlines - Airline stocks were hit hard during Friday's sell-off, as the new Covid variant sparked travel restrictions. Marriott International, Airbnb — Travel stocks took a hit after news of the new Covid variant. Live Nation, Las Vegas Sands — Entertainment and Casino stocks fell amid news of the new Covid variant. Zoom Video – Zoom Video shares jumped more than 6%, as investors piled into stay-at-home stocks amid the broad market sell-off. U.S. oil slid more than 9%, falling to the lowest level in two months amid fears over the new Covid variant.
Persons: Hilton, Airbnb, Expedia, Nordstrom, BioNTech, Novavax, Incyte, Goldman Sachs, Didi Global, Didi, , Jesse Pound, Pippa Stevens Organizations: United Airlines, American Airlines, United, Delta, Boeing, Marriott International, Marriott, Norwegian Cruise, Royal, Sands — Entertainment, Vegas Sands, Wynn Resorts, Penn National Gaming, Nike, Simon Property Group, U.S, Kroger, Moderna, Pfizer —, Pfizer, Diagnostics, Merck — Merck, Occidental Petroleum –, Devon Energy, APA, Bank of America, Citigroup — Bank, Treasury, Citigroup, New York Stock Exchange Locations: Cambridge, Royal Caribbean, Norwegian, Oil, Shanghai
Remote work and vaccine stocks rallied in Friday trading as traders bet on the new coronavirus variant to spark fresh lockdowns. It shows the "stay at home" trade is suddenly back on, and reopening is in doubt yet again. Shares of popular "stay-at-home" stocks rebounded on Friday as traders dumped reopening strategies and braced for new lockdowns. But the market's massive Friday selloff doesn't just signal the recovery is slowing; it also means the new variant is threatening reopening itself. To them, news of the latest variant means a return to remote work, a need for new vaccines, and that reopening is now on hold.
Persons: coronavirus, Telework, DocuSign, Brent, lockdowns, Lockdowns, it's, Anthony Fauci Organizations: Pfizer, Moderna, Dow Jones, lockdowns Traders, World Health, WHO Locations: Africa, South Africa, Botswana, Hong Kong, Austria, Slovakia, Belgium, Netherlands
The World Health Organization on Friday assigned the Greek letter Omicron to a newly identified Covid variant in South Africa. The U.N. health agency recognized the strain, previously referred to as lineage B.1.1.529, as a variant of concern. "This variant has a large number of mutations, some of which are concerning," the WHO said in a statement released Friday. "Preliminary evidence suggests an increased risk of reinfection with this variant, as compared to other VOCs." The number of Omicron cases "appears to be increasing" in almost all of South Africa's provinces, the WHO reported.
Organizations: Pfizer, BioNTech, World Health Organization, WHO, Locations: Montreal, Quebec, South Africa, South Africa's Gauteng, South Africa's
Pfizer and BioNTech are investigating the new, heavily mutated variant of the virus that causes Covid-19, the companies said Friday morning. "We understand the concern of experts and have immediately initiated investigations on variant B.1.1.529," the companies said. Pfizer and BioNTech said they expect more data from lab tests in two weeks at the latest. Pfizer and BioNTech said they can adapt their mRNA vaccine within six weeks and start shipping batches within 100 days if an escape variant is identified. The strength of Pfizer-BioNTech's two-dose vaccine against infection has declined over time, although it's still highly effective at preventing hospitalization and death.
Persons: BioNTech, Johnson, J, , Anthony Fauci, Fauci, it's Organizations: Pfizer, United, European Commission, House, U.S . Centers for Disease Control Locations: Africa, South Africa, United Kingdom, U.S
Share Share Article via Facebook Share Article via Twitter Share Article via LinkedIn Share Article via EmailDr. Scott Gottlieb on what we still need to learn about the new Covid variantDr. Scott Gottlieb, former FDA commissioner and Pfizer board member, joins 'Closing Bell' to discuss the new Covid-19 variant. He says if the majority of the population is vaccinated it can be effective in protecting people from the new Covid variant. He also discusses the implications of new Covid treatments and the impact of the Covid boosters.
Persons: Scott Gottlieb Organizations: FDA, Pfizer
The pharmaceutical company Merck said on Friday that in a final analysis of a clinical trial, its antiviral pill reduced the risk of hospitalization and death among high-risk Covid patients by 30 percent, down from an earlier estimate of 50 percent. The lower efficacy is a disappointment for the drug, known as molnupiravir, which health officials around the world are counting on as a critical tool to save lives and reduce the burden on hospitals. It increases the importance of a similar, apparently more effective, offering from Pfizer that is also under review by the Food and Drug Administration. A panel of advisers to the F.D.A. is set to meet on Tuesday to discuss Merck’s treatment and vote on whether to recommend authorizing it to treat high-risk Covid patients.
Organizations: Merck, Pfizer, Food and Drug Administration
The WHO labeled a new coronavirus variant, Omicron, a "variant of concern" on Friday. The World Health Organization labeled Omicron a "variant of concern" on Friday — a designation given to variants like Delta that require close scrutiny from public-health officials. Preliminary evidence suggests that Omicron may increase the risk of reinfection relative to other variants of concern, the WHO said. Doctors Without Borders nurse Bhelekazi Mdlalose performs a COVID-19 test on a health worker at the Vlakfontein Clinic in Johannesburg, South Africa on May 13, 2020. "That is probably what is creating this increase in cases that we're seeing in South Africa right now."
Persons: Maria van Kerkhove, Javier Pulpo, Katelyn, it's, Jetelina, We've, they're, Bhelekazi Mdlalose, Michele Spatari, They've, Mike Ryan, Fabrice Coffrini, They're, Johnson Organizations: WHO, Service, World Health Organization, University Hospital of, Europa Press, UTHealth School of Public Health, Wednesday, Vlakfontein Clinic, Getty, Alpha, Moderna, BioNTech, Pfizer, Omicron . Locations: South Africa, Israel, Belgium, Europe, Asia, North America, University Hospital of Badajoz, Spain, Turkey, Egypt, Africa, Johannesburg, AFP, Delta, Geneva
Empty vials of the "Comirnaty" Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine are seen inside a waste package at a coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccination center in Madrid, Spain, November 24, 2021. Pfizer and BioNTech said that if necessary they expect to be able to ship a new vaccine tailored to the emerging variant in approximately 100 days. "We understand the concern of experts and have immediately initiated investigations on variant B.1.1.529," BioNTech said in a statement when asked to comment. Register now for FREE unlimited access to reuters.com Register"We expect more data from the laboratory tests in two weeks at the latest. These data will provide more information about whether B.1.1.529 could be an escape variant that may require an adjustment of our vaccine if the variant spreads globally," it added.
Persons: Sergio Perez, BioNTech, BioNTech ADRs, Johnson, Ludwig Burger, Carl O'Donnell, Kirsten Donovan, Matthew Lewis Organizations: Pfizer, BioNTech, REUTERS, Pfizer Inc, Moderna Inc, Moderna, Global, EU, Evercore ISI, Thomson Locations: Madrid, Spain, FRANKFURT, South Africa, Wuhan, Qatar, Frankfurt, New York
South Africa has seen a dramatic rise in new infections, Phaahla said at an online press briefing. Scientists in South Africa are working to determine what percentage of the new cases have been caused by the new variant. Currently identified as B.1.1.529, the new variant has also been found in Botswana and Hong Kong in travelers from South Africa, he said. “This new variant has many, many more mutations,” including more than 30 to the spike protein that affects transmissibility, he said. Amid the rise in cases, scientists studied the genomic sequencing and discovered the new variant.
Persons: Joe Phaahla, Phaahla, , Sajid Javid, Tulio de Oliveira, de Oliveira, , ” De Oliveira, Ravindra Gupta, ” Gupta, Johnson, Nicholas Crisp, Crisp Organizations: Health, Network for Genomic Surveillance, University of Cambridge, Pfizer, Johnson Locations: JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, Gauteng, Africa, Botswana, Hong Kong, Pretoria, , South
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