When someone comments on “the Sputnik” these days, you can bet your hat that they’re not talking about the first satellite to reach low Earth orbit — they’re talking about the Russian coronavirus vaccine candidate. While the present-day Sputnik vaccine didn’t take first place in its own race as its satellite predecessor did, it’s still worth knowing about, because it changes the global competitive landscape for COVID vaccines.
According to phase 3 clinical trial results published last Tuesday in the prestigious medical journal The Lancet, the Sputnik V vaccine is around 91% effective at preventing severe disease. That’s great news not just for Russia, but for the rest of the world, because we desperately need more coronavirus vaccines.
But Sputnik V’s efficacy, price, and storage characteristics might make it a threat to other companies that are vying for a slice of the vaccine market pie. AstraZeneca (NASDAQ: AZN) could be especially vulnerable, and even Pfizer (NYSE: PFE) and Moderna (NASDAQ: MRNA) could face headwinds. Let’s investigate why.