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Pharma giants Pfizer and Moderna just secured multi-billion dollar deals to supply the US government with more than 170 million doses of their COVID-19 vaccines, signaling the fight against the virus is far from over.  Nearly two-thirds of Pfizer’s Q2 revenue was derived from the company’s vaccine and its popular COVID-fighting antiviral Paxlovid. Moderna, meanwhile, has announced it expects to collect several billion dollars more on sales of their vaccine than they did in 2021.

Pending clinical trial data, new “bivalent” vaccines are expected to roll out by the time autumn rolls around, assisting in the fight against the most dominant strain of COVID in the US, Omicron BA.5. This new subvariant is likely behind a rapid rise in coronavirus cases and hospitalizations in recent weeks, including President Biden’s infection at the end of last month.

Related ETF & Stocks: VanEck Pharmaceutical ETF (PPH), Pfizer Inc. (PFE), Moderna, Inc. (MRNA)

More than a year and a half into a relentless global vaccination campaign, vaccines and associated COVID-19 products remain a critical line of business for several of the largest pharmaceutical companies.

According to their most recent earnings report, released last week, pharmaceutical giant Pfizer Inc. booked $27.7 billion in revenue for Q2, a 47% increase YoY and its strongest quarterly sales on record. The pharmaceutical company reported $9.9 billion in net income, a 78% increase over Q2 2021.

The company’s COVID-19 vaccine accounted for nearly a third of that revenue total, driving sales of $8.8 billion in the quarter, helping the company maintain its 2022 sales guidance for the vaccine of $32 billion. Sales of COVID-fighting antiviral Paxlovid were nearly as impactful as the vaccine, totaling $8.1 billion. Per Barron’s, revenues from both products were above Wall Street expectations.

According to The Atlantic, more than 40,000 prescriptions for Paxlovid are being handed out per day. Given the recommended dosage and frequency of the antiviral is three tablets taken together orally twice daily for 5 days, equivalent to a total round of 30 pills, Pfizer will be pumping out Paxlovid at a rapid rate for some time. The US has purchased 20 million courses of Paxlovid.

COVID vaccines and related treatments remain a critical part of Pfizer’s business and executives at the company are convinced that this will be the case indefinitely. According to CEO Albert Bourla, “COVID-19 likely will remain a major global healthcare concern for years to come.”

CNBC reports that, Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech inked a $3.2 billion deal in June to provide 105 million vaccine doses to the US government (at $30 per dose) ahead of an expected fall vaccination campaign. The deal includes an option to purchase another 195 million doses at a later date.

Not only has the US been facing a rising wave of COVID cases in recent weeks, a new Omicron subvariant – Omicron BA.5 – may be more resistant to previous iterations of the vaccines. Per a Portuguese study, cited by Reuters, the BA.5 strain is linked with higher odds of causing a second COVID infection, regardless of vaccination status. Of 15,396 adults infected with the BA.2 variant and 12,306 infected with BA.5, 10.0% of BA.5 cases were reinfections, almost 80% greater than the rate of 5.6% in BA.2 cases.

Moreover, BA.5 cases in those with booster vaccination were associated with 77% and 88% reduction in risk of COVID-19 hospitalization and death, respectively, while higher risk reduction was found for BA.2 cases, with 93% and 94%, respectively. Results like these have driven vaccine manufacturers to begin tweaking their products in preparation for…

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