February 4, 2023

Pfizer Inc jumps higher to close the year as UK approves Paxlovid

  • NYSE:PFE gained 1.11% during Friday’s trading session.
  • The UK approves Paxlovid for use in high-risk adults.
  • South Africa sees a steep drop-off in the Omicron variant.

NYSE:PFE managed to close another calendar year on a high note, as the latest COVID-19 variant continues to spread rapidly across the US. Shares of Pfizer gained 1.11% on Friday and closed the trading session at $59.05. Pfizer is now up 60% during the year, which has handily outperformed the benchmark S&P 500 which gained 26.89% in 2021. In fact, all three major indices closed the year in positive territory for the third consecutive year, as the US markets continue to shrug off the persistent presence of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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On Friday, the UK officially approved Pfizer’s latest COVID-19 treatment, the antiviral pill called Paxlovid. The UK has been one of the countries that has been hit by the Omicron variant as it continues to break new case records with each passing day. Paxlovid has been approved for adults over the age of 18 with mild to moderate symptoms, but who also have underlying conditions that put them at high risk for more serious infection. Paxlovid has been shown to reduce hospitalizations by 90% when taken early on in the infection and has been much more effective than rival Merck’s antiviral pill which the UK approved last month.

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In some positive news, South Africa is reporting a steep decline in cases of the Omicron variant suggesting that the worst is now over. The country has lifted its curfew for New Year’s celebrations, which may be good news for other countries including the US. Timelines have generally been accurate in how COVID-19 behaves in one country to another, so we could very well be seeing the peak of the Omicron variant over the next couple of weeks.

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