Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP) approved AstraZeneca plc (LON: AZN) COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use in the South Asian country on Saturday. It’s the first vaccine to have received a nod in Pakistan, where the novel flu-like virus has so far infected more than half a million people and caused roughly 11 thousand deaths.
AstraZeneca also said on Monday that its Enhertu (fam-trastuzumab deruxtecan-nxki) drug received approval for the treatment of Gastric Cancer in the United States. The news comes more than a week after the British-Swedish multinational said it sold commercial rights to its drug for hypertension management (Atacand) for £294.44 million to Cheplapharm Arzneimittel GmbH.
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Pakistan is currently in talks with several vaccine manufacturers to procure sufficient doses of the treatment from multiple sources. Under its agreement with CanSino Biologics, Pakistan is set to receive tens of millions of doses from the Chinese company.
According to Pakistan’s Health Minister, Dr Faisal Sultan, preliminary results of Ad5-nCOV (Cansino’s candidate vaccine) Phase III clinical trials in Pakistan are expected in the second week of February. He also said in a statement over the weekend that the South Asian country wishes to cover the bulk of its population for free.
AstraZeneca’s performance in the stock market
AstraZeneca shares remained almost flat in premarket trading on Monday but jumped more than 1% on market open. Including the price action, the stock is now trading at £76.80 per share versus £62.21 per share in March 2020. If you want to invest in the stock market online, you will need a reliable stockbroker – here is a list of the top few to make selection easier for you.
AstraZeneca performed slightly downbeat in the stock market last year with an annual decline of more than 5%. At the time of writing, the pharmaceutical giant is valued at almost £101 billion and has a price to earnings ratio of 55.29.
Brazil approves AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine
In related news, the Brazilian health regulatory agency also granted emergency use authorisation to AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine on Sunday. Anvisa also approved China’s Sinovac Biotech’s vaccine for emergency use over the weekend as well.
Anvisa’s board unanimously gave a green signal for both vaccines on Sunday. Later on the same day, a 54-year-old nurse, Monica Calazans was inoculated with Coronavac (Sinovac’s COVID-19 vaccine), becoming the first Brazilian to have received the vaccine.