Reuters

Merck COVID-19 pill success slams Moderna shares, shakes up healthcare sector

Merck shares jumped as much as 12.3% and hit their highest level since February 2020 after data showed the company’s pill molnupiravir https://www.reuters.com/business/healthcare-pharmaceuticals/mercks-covid-19-pill-cuts-risk-death-hospitalization-by-50-study-2021-10-01 could halve the chances of dying or being hospitalized for those most at risk of contracting severe COVID-19. At the same time, shares of vaccine makers such as Moderna Inc, Pfizer Inc and partner BioNTech SE were hit, with some analysts saying the promise of an oral drug that can be taken at home could change the public perception of risks associated with COVID-19. “We see modest perceived headwind to vaccine stocks such as MRNA (Moderna) if the market thinks people will be less afraid of COVID-19 and less inclined to get vaccines, if there is a simple pill that can treat COVID-19,” Jefferies analyst Michael Yee said in a client note.

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