Top-Performing Biotechnology ETFs Amid Coronavirus Outbreak

The coronavirus outbreak seems to get severe in the United States as more than 3.3 million cases have been recorded with a death toll of at least 135,205. Globally, 12.9 million confirmed coronavirus cases have been registered already. Looking at the spike in cases, people worldwide are waiting for a vaccine or treatment to combat the pandemic.

In such a scenario, the biotechnology sector has emerged as the most sought after space by investors and it has kept its promise for solid returns so far. The S&P Biotechnology Select Industry Index has gained 20.5% to date against the broader S&P 500 Index’s loss of 1.4%. From vaccine-related positive news to progress in the development of cell therapies for treating coronavirus, all kept the sector surging.

Positive development in coronavirus vaccine research recently fuelled the Wall Street rally. Pfizer (PFE), which is working with its Germany-based partner BioNTech, informed that one of its four candidates for the coronavirus vaccine has successfully generated neutralizing antibodies in all participants, who were given two of the 10 or 30 microgram doses after 28 days (per a CNBC article).

Pfizer is aiming to start its mid-stage trial by as early as this month. It is worth noting here that, Pfizer is targeting to produce up to 100 million doses by the end of this year and more than 1.2 billion doses by 2021-end.

The first company to start human clinical trials of its coronavirus vaccine candidate in the United States — Moderna (MRNA) — is expected to initiate the final-stage clinical trial in July.

Going on, Vaxart, Inc.’s (VXRT) oral COVID-19 vaccine candidate has been picked up for investigation in a non-human primate challenge study. The new study will be organized and funded by Operation Warp Speed (“OWS”), which is a new national program, to provide substantial quantities of a safe, effective vaccine for Americans by January 2021. Notably, the five shortlisted companies under the OWS initiative to rapidly develop a coronavirus vaccine are Moderna, Oxford University, and AstraZeneca (AZN), J&J (JNJ), Merck (MRK) and Pfizer, per The New York Times report.

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