Moderna (MRNA) Stock Up 10% as WHO Says Omicron Covid Variant Poses 'Very High' Global RIsk

November 29, 2021 6:34 AM EST

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Shares of Moderna (NASDAQ: MRNA) are up more than 10% in pre-open Tuesday as investors continue to bet the company is well-positioned to deliver a COVID-19 vaccine that protects against a new Omicron variant.

The World Health Organization (WHO), announced this morning the new variant is spreading around quickly and as such, it presents a “very high” global risk. In the technical brief issued this morning, WHO said:

“There could be future surges of Covid-19, which could have severe consequences, depending on a number of factors including where surges may take place. The overall global risk related to the new VOC [variant of concern] Omicron is assessed as very high.”

The brief comes three days after WHO classified Omicron as a “variant of concern,” which is characterized by “a high number of mutations ... some of which are concerning and may be associated with immune escape potential and higher transmissibility.”

However, markets are up Monday morning after a top South African doctor said Omicron-infected patients are showing “extremely mild” symptoms.

Moderna stock got a boost over the weekend after the company’s CMO Paul Burton said MRNA could deliver an updated vaccine against the omicron coronavirus variant early next year.

“We should know about the ability of the current vaccine to provide protection in the next couple of weeks, but the remarkable thing about the MRNA vaccines, Moderna platform is that we can move very fast,” Burton told BBC.

“If we have to make a brand new vaccine I think that’s going to be early 2022 before that’s really going to be available in large quantities,” the Moderna chief added.

Moderna shares closed 20.5% Friday to increase YTD gains to 195%.

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