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Pfizer CEO sells shares worth $5.6 million as company announces COVID-19 vaccine data

US-based Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech said the experimental COVID-19 vaccine was more than 90 percent effective in preventing COVID-19.

November 12, 2020 / 09:46 AM IST
(Image: Bryan Derballa/The New York Times)

(Image: Bryan Derballa/The New York Times)


Pfizer Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Albert Bourla sold stock worth nearly $5.6 million on November 9, the day the company released data on its experimental COVID-19 vaccine.

Bourla sold 132,508 shares at an average price of $41.94 per share, which is 61.8 percent of the shares owned directly and by the Pfizer CEO, CNBC reported citing securities filings.

US-based Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech said the vaccine was more than 90 percent effective in preventing COVID-19.

After the sale, Bourla owns more than 81,812 shares of Pfizer, directly or indirectly. A Pfizer spokesperson confirmed the transaction and said Bourla has a larger holding in the company through "qualified and nonqualified savings plans".

"After being with the company for more than 25 years, Albert owns a substantial amount of Pfizer stock under our qualified and nonqualified savings plans," a Pfizer spokesperson said, as quoted by CNBC.

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COVID-19 Vaccine

Frequently Asked Questions

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How does a vaccine work?

A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.

How many types of vaccines are there?

There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.

What does it take to develop a vaccine of this kind?

Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.

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The company's shares rose as much as 15 percent to trade at session high of $41.99 on Monday, before closing up 7.7 percent. They were trading at 38.75 on November 11.

Pfizer and BioNTech have said no serious safety concerns were found so far and expect to seek U.S. emergency use authorization this month, raising the chance of a regulatory decision as soon as December.

(With inputs from Reuters)
Moneycontrol News
first published: Nov 12, 2020 09:46 am

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