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DAX with the help from German-French Eurobond plans soon back at 12,000 points?

DAX with the help from German-French Eurobond plans soon back at 12,000 points?

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Source: Economic Events Calendar May 25 – 29, 2020 - Admiral Markets' Forex Calendar


DAX30 CFD

The German DAX30 started the last week of trading with massive gains. While we pointed out in our last weekly market outlook that:

[…]we are still careful in terms of DAX30 CFD long engagements, even though short-term and technically we stay positive as long as the German index trades above 10,200 points.[…]

we did not expect gains of more than 5% into the start of the week.

The main driver wes the comments from Fed chairman Powell on CBS' "60 Minutes" and Merkel's and Macron's proposal of a 500 billion EU recovery fund that would offer grants to European Union regions and sectors hit hardest by the coronavirus pandemic.

In fact, this move moves the EU more in the direction of a transfer union and can be interpreted as bullish for Equities.

If the bullish momentum continues over the next few days and the DAX30 breaks above the April highs around 11,350 points, a re-test of the SMA(200) around 12,000/050 points is a realistic option.

If the DAX30 on the other hand fails to break higher, a re-test of the region around 10,200 points is likely, initiated by disappointing news around developments respectively missing progress in terms of a Coronavirus vaccine as last Tuesday with Moderna's vaccine trial not working as well as expected:

Source: Admiral Markets MT5 with MT5-SE Add-on DAX30 CFD Daily chart (between February 5, 2019 to May 22, 2020). Accessed: May 22, 2020, at 10:00pm GMT - Please note: Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future results, or future performance.

In 2015, the value of the DAX30 CFD increased by 9.56%, in 2016, it increased by 6.87%, in 2017, it increased by 12.51%, in 2018, it fell by 18.26%, in 2019, it increased by 26.44% meaning that after five years, it was up by 34.2%.

Check out Admiral Markets' most competitive conditions on the DAX30 CFD and start trading on the DAX30 CFD with a low 0.8 point spread offering during the main Xetra trading hours!


US Dollar

And again: when looking at the USD Index Future, the picture hasn't significantly changed over the last few days, but with the Euro about to gain momentum against the Greenback, the USD Index Future could see a sharp drop back below 100.00 points in the days to come.

Our USD scepticism was elevated again, by Fed chairman Powell's appearance on CBS' "60 Minutes" on May 17.

In fact, we see a confirmation in his remarks in front of the US congress on May 13, in which one could easily interpret that the Fed will do everything and flood markets with trillions of US dollars if necessary to avoid a collapse of the US economy.

On CBS he said that "In the long run and even in the medium run, you wouldn't want to bet against the American economy" while acknowledging that the unemployment rate could hit as high as 25%.

If we have to translate this, we'd say it means that a worsening situation in regards to the US economy should be expected, but that the Fed will deliver the fuel which is needed to keep "the engine" running.

An anticipation of this "liquidity boost" could rather sooner than later result in a sustainable drop in 10-year US Treasury yields below 0.60%, bringing the USD under pressure, probably especially against the Euro after Merkel's and Macron's 500 billion Euro EU recovery fund (further details in the Euro paragraph).

Still, technically the USD Index Future can be considered neutral between 94.00 and 104.00 points:

Source: Barchart - U.S Dollar Index - Weekly Nearest OHLC Chart (between July 2017 to May 2020). Accessed: May 22, 2020, at 10:00 PM GMT

Don't forget to register for the weekly "Trading Spotlight" webinar with presenters including Jens Klatt, every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 2pm London time! It's your opportunity to follow Jens and others as they explore the weekly market outlook in detail, so don't miss out!


Euro

In our last weekly market outlook we wrote

[…]While the Euro presented itself stable (and choppy) against the US dollar over the last week of trading and the performance could be interpreted as quite strong after the German Constitutional Court ruling on the 05th of May, we stay sceptical for the Euro.[…]

and that

[…]the Euro (is) vulnerable to upcoming uncertainty and leaves the current yearly lows around 1.0630 and making even a significant drop lower on the table, is probably a little under-priced into the currency in our opinion.[…]

Well, the Euro-tide has turned over the last week of trading and we are now Euro bullish.

On Monday, Germany and France respectively Merkel and Macron proposed a 500 billion EU recovery fund that would offer grants to European Union regions and sectors hit hardest by the coronavirus pandemic.

In fact, one could see this as a first step towards a transfer union and is, in addition with the massive monetary stimulus from the ECB, bullish for the Euro.

Indeed, the EUR/USD gained bullish momentum and is currently eyeing the region around 1.1000 with a break higher levelling the path up to 1.1200 and probably even higher in the months to come.

This is probably especially true, since the US dollar should stay under pressure and while European yields should stay "bid", a sustainable drop in 10-year US Treasury yields below 0.60% would narrow the yield differential between EU and US bonds further, favouring gains in the EUR/USD:

Source: Admiral Markets MT5 with MT5-SE Add-on EUR/USD Daily chart (between March 25, 2019, to May 22, 2020). Accessed: May 22, 2020, at 10:00pm GMT - Please note: Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future results, or future performance.

In 2015, the value of the EUR/USD fell by 10.2%, in 2016, it fell by 3.2%, in 2017, it increased by 13.92%, 2018, it fell by 4.4%, 2019, it fell by 2.2%, meaning that after five years, it was down by 7.3%.


JPY

While the overall picture in the USD/JPY didn't change over the last week of trading, did the stable performance in US yields help the currency pair to make fresh monthly highs.

Still, the sustainability of this move should be questioned and we keep our overall bearish outlook on the currency pair.

That may be especially true after Fed chairman Powell's appearance on CBS' "60 Minutes". After his remarks in front of the US congress on May 13, he said that "In the long run and even in the medium run, you wouldn't want to bet against the American economy" while acknowledging that the unemployment rate could hit as high as 25%.

If we have to translate this, we'd say it means that a worsening situation in regards to the US economy should be expected, but that the Fed will deliver the fuel which is needed to keep "the engine" running.

An anticipation of this "liquidity boost" could rather sooner than later result in a sustainable drop in 10-year US Treasury yields below 0.60%, bringing the USD under pressure and thus drive the USD/JPY lower, too.

That in mind, a test of the region around 105.00 and even a push lower seems a realistic option in the coming days and weeks in the USD/JPY and as long as the currency pair does not recapture 109.00/50:

Source: Admiral Markets MT5 with MT5-SE Add-on USD/JPY Daily chart (between April 1, 2019, to May 22, 2020). Accessed: May 22, 2020, at 10:00pm GMT

In 2015, the value of the USD/JPY increased by 0.5%, in 2016, it fell by 2.8%, in 2017, it fell by 3.6%, in 2018, it fell by 2.7%, in 2019, it fell by 0.85%, meaning that after five years, it was down by 9.2%.


Gold

Gold stays on its bullish path, pushing to new yearly highs last week. While technically the bearish divergence in the RSI(14) on a daily time-frame is still on the table, our take for the yellow metal stays clearly bullish, and we expect a stint to the all-time high of around 1,920 USD.

While Gold bulls should stay cautious in regards to overly aggressive long engagements with the technical bearish divergence pointing to some diminishing bullish momentum, from a fundamental perspective the path higher seems levelled.

After Powell's remarks in front of the US congress on May 13, we see a confirmation of our take from this testimony that the Fed will do everything and flood markets with trillions of US dollar if necessary to avoid a collapse of the US economy, in his appearance on CBS' "60 Minutes" where he said "In the long run and even in the medium run, you wouldn't want to bet against the American economy" while acknowledging that the unemployment rate could hit as high as 25%.

That in mind and if we get to see a sustainable drop in 10-year US Treasury yields below 0.60% in the days to come leaves us with a bullish expectation and a target around 1,920, If technically as long as we trade above 1,660 USD:

Source: Admiral Markets MT5 with MT5-SE Add-on Gold Daily chart (between February 21, 2019, to May 22, 2020). Accessed: May 22, 2020, at 10:00pm GMT - Please note: Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future results, or future performance.

In 2015, the value of Gold fell by 10.4%, in 2016, it increased by 8.1%, in 2017, it increased by 13.1%, in 2018, it fell by 1.6%, in 2019, it increased by 18.9%, meaning that after five years, it was up by 28%.


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Disclaimer: The given data provides additional information regarding all analysis, estimates, prognosis, forecasts or other similar assessments or information (hereinafter "Analysis") published on the website of Admiral Markets. Before making any investment decisions please pay close attention to the following:

  1. This is a marketing communication. The analysis is published for informative purposes only and are in no way to be construed as investment advice or recommendation. It has not been prepared in accordance with legal requirements designed to promote the independence of investment research, and that it is not subject to any prohibition on dealing ahead of the dissemination of investment research.
  2. Any investment decision is made by each client alone whereas Admiral Markets shall not be responsible for any loss or damage arising from any such decision, whether or not based on the Analysis.
  3. Each of the Analysis is prepared by an independent analyst (Jens Klatt, Professional Trader and Analyst, hereinafter "Author") based on the Author's personal estimations.
  4. To ensure that the interests of the clients would be protected and objectivity of the Analysis would not be damaged Admiral Markets has established relevant internal procedures for prevention and management of conflicts of interest.
  5. Whilst every reasonable effort is taken to ensure that all sources of the Analysis are reliable and that all information is presented, as much as possible, in an understandable, timely, precise and complete manner, Admiral Markets does not guarantee the accuracy or completeness of any information contained within the Analysis. The presented figures refer that refer to any past performance is not a reliable indicator of future results.
  6. The contents of the Analysis should not be construed as an express or implied promise, guarantee or implication by Admiral Markets that the client shall profit from the strategies therein or that losses in connection therewith may or shall be limited.
  7. Any kind of previous or modeled performance of financial instruments indicated within the Publication should not be construed as an express or implied promise, guarantee or implication by Admiral Markets for any future performance. The value of the financial instrument may both increase and decrease and the preservation of the asset value is not guaranteed.
  8. The projections included in the Analysis may be subject to additional fees, taxes or other charges, depending on the subject of the Publication. The price list applicable to the services provided by Admiral Markets is publicly available from the website of Admiral Markets.
  9. Leveraged products (including contracts for difference) are speculative in nature and may result in losses or profit. Before you start trading, you should make sure that you understand all the risks.

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Weekly Digest – December 16, 2022

Friday, December 16, 2022Volume 3, Issue 59 Quote of the Week “Remember that you must behave as at a banquet. Is anything brought round to you? Put…

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Friday, December 16, 2022
Volume 3, Issue 59


Quote of the Week

“Remember that you must behave as at a banquet. Is anything brought round to you? Put out your hand and take a moderate share. Does it pass by you? Do not stop it. Is it not yet come? Do not yearn in desire toward it, but wait till it reaches you. So with regard to children, wife, office, riches; and you will some time or other be worthy to feast with the gods. And if you do not so much as take the things which are set before you, but are able even to forego them, then you will not only be worthy to feast with the gods, but to rule with them also. For, by thus doing, Diogenes and Heraclitus, and others like them, deservedly became divine, and were so recognized.”

— Epictetus, The Enchiridion, 15


Fortune Cookies

Fortune cookies are entertaining because they come with a vague statement that can often be interpreted positively. But they are usually not to be taken seriously. This is why I find myself annoyed when I read “fortune cookies” on Twitter that provide vapid advice claiming to make inherently difficult things easy to accomplish. 

Since we are approaching the end of the year when many people start thinking about New Year’s resolutions, I thought that I would provide eight (hopefully) higher quality “fortune cookies” of my own that took many years to figure out. 

  • Almost nothing worthwhile can be achieved without considerable effort. If you want something, be prepared to work very hard to get it.
  • If you hate your job, find a different one or switch to a different career. If you are still young, “retirement” is almost certainly a mistake. Find something that you are good at and enjoy doing and then commit to it wholeheartedly. 
  • Commit to reading 25 pages per day. That is over 9,000 pages per year and will put you at the very top in terms of attainment of wisdom, provided that you read with purpose. While difficult at first, it will get easier in time. Eventually, it will be very difficult to not read on a daily basis. Such days will feel incomplete.
  • Start a journal. Writing for fifteen minutes every morning can make a big difference in setting the tone for the day and keeping your goals on track.
  • Avoid hatred at all costsHatred leads to disaster and harms the person doing the hating more than the target of hatred. Instead of falling into hatred, disassociate from toxic people, especially in cases of lies and deception.
  • Be kind to others, especially those who through no fault of their own have been dealt a bad hand. But never allow someone to take advantage of your kindness. Provide a helping hand, not a handout, and never facilitate dysfunctional behavior. Cut people out of your life who are only interested in money.
  • Avoid envy. The people you see on social media who appear to have “perfect lives” almost certainly do not. Many are secretly miserable and hide behind beautiful fictions posted on social media to fool themselves as well as others.
  • Do not confuse frugality with cheapness. Default to generosity when it makes sense. Being cheap when it comes to health and well-being is stupid, and the same is true for intellectual pursuits. Books distill thousands of hours of the author’s time for the cost of a restaurant meal or less. Never budget for books.

These might be “fortune cookies”, but they could actually make a positive impact even though none are necessarily easy to implement. I can say that all of these concepts have helped me despite taking years or, in some cases decades, to really figure out.


Articles

Consoles and Competition by Ben Thompson, December 12, 2022. This article provides over forty years of history of the video game industry before analyzing the FTC’s attempt to block Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision. As someone who is not familiar with the intricacies of this case, I found the lengthy discussion of the industry’s history very valuable since it provides necessary context. “For the record, I do believe this acquisition demands careful overview, and it’s completely appropriate to insist that Microsoft continue to deliver Activision titles to other platforms, even if it wouldn’t make economic sense to do anything but. It’s increasingly difficult, though, to grasp any sort of coherent theory to the FTC’s antitrust decisions beyond ‘big tech bad’.” (Stratechery)

Sea Change by Howard Marks, December 13, 2022. In this memo, Howard Marks points out that forty years of declining interest rates represented a major tailwind for investors. He likens falling interest rates to a moving walkway in an airport. Just as moving walkways make life easier for weary travelers, falling interest rates act as an assist for investors. However, this secular decline in interest rates appears to be at an end which represents a sea change in the investment landscape. Investors need to be aware that the strategies that worked well over the past forty years may not lead to outperformance in the future. (Oaktree Capital)

The California Effect by Mr. Money Mustache, December 10, 2022. The cost of living is famously high in the San Francisco Bay Area where Mr. Money Mustache recently spent a few days observing the attitudes of people with very different approaches to spending money. The reality is that even in the most expensive regions, spending excessively is always a choice, not an inevitable mandate. “San Francisco professionals live in a place where 25-year-old tech workers enjoy $200,000 starting salaries, yet still have credit card debt and car loans, and they think that is normal.” (Mr. Money Mustache)

The College Essay Is Dead by Stephen Marche, December 6, 2022. Will artificial intelligence kill the college essay? Anyone who has played with ChatGPT, a new AI tool that recently opened to the public, might be asking the question which this article explores. I admit to being a little baffled about the handwringing. After all, when I was in college three decades ago, we took exams using technology no more advanced than blue books and a pen or pencil. AI might help students cheat on work done outside the classroom, but you cannot fake your way through an exam where there is no technology other than paper and a writing implement. (The Atlantic)

Ideas That Changed My Life by Morgan Housel, December 7, 2022. Among other topics, Morgan Housel makes an excellent case for reading. Otherwise, your personal experiences will excessively influence your perception of how the world works. “Your personal experiences make up maybe 0.00000001% of what’s happened in the world but maybe 80% of how you think the world works. People believe what they’ve seen happen exponentially more than what they read about has happened to other people, if they read about other people at all. We’re all biased to our own personal history.” (Collaborative Fund)

Thankfully, Life Is Full of Problems by Lawrence Yeo, December 7, 2022. I was reminded of Viktor Frankl when I read this article. Frankl held that people gain a sense of purpose not through a tensionless state but by struggling and striving toward a personally meaningful goal. Lawrence Yeo makes a similar case. What we must do is to “upgrade” from dealing with meaningless problems to a focus on addressing “heavyweight” problems. (More to That)

The Gift of Time by Nick Maggiulli, December 13, 2022. Almost everyone thinks about money in terms of goods or services it can buy. But money is really the gift of time: “Because everything I write isn’t really about money, it’s about time. Time with your loved ones. Time to enjoy yourself. Time to live the life you want. In the end, all of your money will be converted back to time anyways. If not now, then later. And if not by you, then by someone else. Possibly after you’re gone.” (Of Dollars and Data)

Be Wary of Imitating High-Status People Who Can Afford to Countersignal by Rob Henderson, December 11, 2022. This article argues that we should avoid emulating people who have achieved status far above ours, and instead look to those who are just somewhat ahead of us. People with very high status can afford to exhibit unusual behavior. For example, a famous author doesn’t need to use Twitter personally to surface his writing because his fans will do this for him. That’s not the case for most authors seeking wider distribution of their work. (Rob Henderson’s Newsletter)

How Neuroscience Confirms the Most Ancient Myths About Music by Ted Gioia, December 12, 2022. Music has a tremendous capacity to influence our lives as listeners, often putting us into flow states conducive to productivity. For example, I often listen to The Dave Brubeck Quartet’s performance at Carnegie Hall in 1963 when I want to get serious work done. For musicians, performing can induce an even deeper flow state, as Ted Gioia describes: “In the midst of an intense performance, the music seemed to be playing itself.” This article on music and neuroscience is part of a book being published in installments on Substack. (The Honest Broker)


Podcasts

Tom Gayner Discusses the Evolution of Markel, December 14, 2022. 56 minutes. This is a wide-ranging interview covering topics including Berkshire Hathaway’s recent investment in Markel, the growth of Markel Ventures in the context of the company’s overall capital allocation strategy, the use of leverage, and how investing during the pandemic was more challenging than the financial crisis. (Boyar Value Group)

The Essays of Warren Buffett, January 20, 2022. 1 hour, 58 minutes. According to Lawrence Cunningham’s newsletter, which you can sign up for here, the sixth edition of his compilation of Warren Buffett’s shareholder letters will be released early next year. I have the first and second editions and highly recommend the book. While all of the letters are available on Berkshire’s website, the compilation is organized by topic and adds significant value. In this podcast, David Senra provides his enthusiastic commentary about what he took away from this book. (Founder’s Podcast)

Master of Precision: Henry Leland Founder of Cadillac, May 31, 2020. 1 hour, 10 minutes. I think Steve Jobs and Henry Leland had much in common in terms of insisting on high quality and viewing their role as craftsmen, paying obsessive attention to details. “There always was and there always will be conflict between Good and Good Enough. In opening up a new business one can count on meeting resistance to a high standard of workmanship. It is easy to get cooperation for mediocre work, but one must sweat blood for a chance to produce a superior product. —Henry Leland” (Founders Podcast)

DoorDash: Looking for Profitable Routes, December 14, 2022. “DoorDash was founded in 2013 by four Stanford students, who saw an opportunity to make it easier for people to get the food they love delivered to them. Today, DoorDash’s three-sided marketplace serves as one of the largest local delivery companies in the world, serving millions of customers and partnering with hundreds of thousands of restaurants across 27 countries, run rating at over $50 billion of gross merchandise value.” (Business Breakdowns)


Twitter Threads

This is a brief thread on the importance of reading. It is based on The Use of Letters, a journal entry I wrote early last year. Why would anyone voluntarily limit their understanding of the world to just their own direct experiences?

Checking quotes frequently is counterproductive. There is too much noise in quotes when checked on a daily basis and doing so is likely to make most investors miserable.

The origin story of the Eiffel Tower:


A Shepherd and His Flock in Winter

From Wikipedia:

Frederick Ferdinand Schafer (August 16, 1839 – July 18, 1927) was a German-born American painter. He was born in Braunschweig, Germany and he emigrated to the United States in 1876, at age 37. 

Schafer’s paintings, which mostly depict landscape scenes in California and other western states, are dated between 1873 and 1911. There are many scenes of Yosemite National Park included in a catalog of his paintings. As the weather turns colder, I thought that this scene of an unknown location captures the season quite well.

A Shepherd and His Flock in Winter, Frederick Ferdinand Schafer (public domain)

Here is a description of this painting by Jerome H. Saltzer, Professor of Computer Science Emeritus at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology:

“This painting might be described as luminist in style. Paintings such as this one may be the basis for the suggestion that Schafer’s later work was lighter, but the shortage of dated paintings makes it difficult to confirm that suggestion.”


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International

FDA advisory committee votes unanimously in favor of a one-shot COVID-19 vaccine approach – 5 questions answered

Many questions remain about next steps for US vaccine policy. But the FDA advisory panel’s hearty endorsement of a single-composition COVID-19 vaccine…

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The FDA advisory committee discussed vaccine safety, effectiveness of the current shots, potential seasonality of COVID-19 and more. wildpixel/iStock via Getty Images Plus

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s key science advisory panel, the Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee, met on Jan. 26, 2023, to chart a path forward for COVID-19 vaccine policy. During the all-day meeting, the 21-member committee discussed an array of weighty issues including the efficacy of existing vaccines, the composition of future vaccine strains and the need to match them to the circulating variants of SARS-CoV-2, the possibility of moving to an annual-shot model, the potential seasonality of the virus and much more.

But the key question at hand, and the only formal question that was voted on, following a proposal from the FDA earlier in the week, had to do with how to simplify the path to getting people vaccinated.

The Conversation asked immunologist Matthew Woodruff, who has been on the front lines of studying immune responses to COVID-19 since the early days of the pandemic, to walk us through the big questions of the day and what they mean for future COVID-19 vaccine strategies.

What exactly did the advisory committee vote on?

The question put before the committee for a vote was whether to move to one COVID-19 vaccine consisting of a single composition for all people – whether currently vaccinated or not – and away from the current model that includes one formulation given as a primary series and a separate formulation administered as a booster. Importantly, approved formulations could come from any number of vaccine manufacturers, not just those that have currently authorized vaccines.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention currently requires that the primary series of shots, or the first two doses of the vaccine that a patient receives, consist of the first generation of vaccine against the original strain of SARS-CoV-2, known as the “Wuhan” strain of the virus. These shots are given weeks apart, followed months later by a booster shot that was updated in August 2022 to contain a bivalent formulation of vaccine that targets both the original viral strain and newer subvariants of omicron.

The committee’s endorsement simplifies those recommendations. In a 21-to-0 vote, the advisory board recommended fully replacing, or “harmonizing,” the original formulation of the vaccine with a single shot that would consist of – at least for now – the current bivalent vaccine.

In doing so, it has signaled its belief that these new second-generation vaccines are an upgrade over their predecessors in protecting from infection and severe illness at this point in the pandemic.

If the FDA panel’s recommendation is endorsed by the CDC, only a single composition of vaccine – in this case, the updated bivalent shot – will be used for both vaccinated and unvaccinated people.

Will the single shot remain a mixed-strain, or bivalent, vaccine?

For now, the single shot will be bivalent. But this may not always be the case.

There was a general agreement that the current bivalent shot is preferable to the original vaccine targeted at the Wuhan strain of the virus by itself. But committee members debated whether that original Wuhan vaccine strain should continue to be a part of updated vaccine formulations.

There is no current data comparing a monovalent, or single-strain, vaccine that targets omicron and its subvariants against the current bivalent shot. As a result, it’s unclear how a monovalent shot against recent omicron subvariants would perform in comparison to the bivalent version.

What is immune imprinting, and how does it apply here?

A main reason for the debate over monovalent versus bivalent – or, for that matter, trivalent or tetravalent – vaccines is a lack of understanding around how best to sharpen an immune response to a slightly altered threat. This has long been a debate surrounding annual influenza vaccination strategies, where studies have shown that the immune “memory” that forms in response to a prior vaccine can actively repress a robust immune response to the next.

This phenomenon of immune imprinting, originally coined in 1960 as “original antigenic sin,” has been a topic of debate both within the advisory committee and within the broader immunological community.

Although innovative strategies are being developed to overcome potential problems with routinely updated vaccines, they are not yet ready to be tested in humans. In the meantime, it is unclear how bivalent versus monovalent vaccine choices might alter this phenomenon, and it is very clear that more study is needed.

Is the committee considering only mRNA vaccines?

While a significant portion of the discussion focused on the mRNA vaccine platform used by both Pfizer and Moderna, several committee members emphasized the need for new technologies that could provide broader immunological protection. Dr. Pamela McInnes, a now-retired longtime deputy director of the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, highlighted this point, saying, “I would make a plea for ongoing research on broader protection, maybe different platforms, maybe a different approach.”

A good deal of attention was also directed toward Novavax, a protein-based formulation that relies on a more traditional approach to vaccination than the mRNA-based vaccines. Although the Novavax vaccine has been authorized by the FDA for use since July 2022, it has received much less national attention – largely because of its latecomer status. Nonetheless, Novavax has boasted efficacy rates on par with its mRNA cousins, with good safety profiles and less demanding long-term storage requirements than the mRNA shots.

By simplifying the vaccine schedule to include only a single vaccine formulation, the committee reasoned, it might be easier for competing vaccination platforms to break into the market. In other words, newer vaccine contenders would not have to rely on patients’ having already received their primary series before using their products. Companies seemed ready to take advantage of that future flexibility, with researchers from Pfizer, Moderna and Novavax all revealing their companies’ exploration of a hybrid COVID-19 and flu shot at various stages of clinical trials and testing.

Would the single shot resemble flu vaccine development?

Not necessarily. Currently, the influenza vaccine is decided by committee through the World Health Organization. Because of its seasonal nature, the strains to be included in each season’s flu vaccine strain for the Southern and Northern hemispheres, with their opposing winters, are selected independently. The Northern Hemisphere’s selection is made in February for the following winter based on a vast network of flu monitoring stations around the globe.

Although there was broad consensus among panelists that the shots against SARS-CoV-2 should be updated regularly to more closely match the most current circulating viral strain, there was less agreement on how frequent that would be.

For instance, rapidly mutating strains of the virus in both summer and winter surges might necessitate two updated shots a year instead of just one. As Dr. Eric Rubin, an infectious disease expert from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, noted, “It’s hard to say that it’s going to be annual at this point.”

Matthew Woodruff receives funding from the National Institute of Health and the US Department of Defense to support his academic research.

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Government

Novavax gets ready to take another shot at Covid vaccine market with next season plans

While mRNA took center stage at yesterday’s FDA vaccine advisory committee meeting, Novavax announced its plans to deliver an updated protein-based vaccine…

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While mRNA took center stage at yesterday’s FDA vaccine advisory committee meeting, Novavax announced its plans to deliver an updated protein-based vaccine based on new guidance.

Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee (VRBPAC) members voted unanimously in favor of “harmonizing” Covid vaccine compositions, meaning all future vaccine recipients would receive a bivalent vaccine, regardless of whether they’ve gotten their primary series.

As Mark Sawyer, pediatrics professor at the UC San Diego School of Medicine, put it: “Bivalent is better. Simple is better.”

However, bivalent doesn’t have to mean mRNA, said Pamela McInnes, a temporary voting member and retired deputy director of the NIH’s National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences.

“I want to urge making plays for other platforms,” she said. “mRNA has been fantastic. They can produce it really, really quickly. But it may not give us the breadth of coverage, which is really what I think our problem is right now. We know we induce really good neutralizing antibody with mRNA vaccines, but it seems to be pretty short-lived.”

In July, now-retired NIAID Director Anthony Fauci called for “innovative approaches” against “coronaviruses known and unknown,” such as pan-coronavirus candidates and mucosal options that can be administered intranasally. Nuvaxovid won the FDA’s emergency use authorization back that same month, becoming the first protein-based Covid vaccine available in the US, after Novavax suffered delay after delay for its EUA filing.

However, sales have been lackluster. The vaccine earned $626 million in Q3, leading CEO Stanley Erck to drop his full-year sales guidance to the lower end of a $2 billion to $2.3 billion range previously projected in Q2.

On Thursday, Novavax CMO Filip Dubovsky said during the VRBPAC meeting that the company is prepared to deliver “either a monovalent or a bivalent vaccine for the 2023-2024 vaccination season based on guidance from the FDA.”

“Our recommendation is that the regulatory bodies and manufacturers move to an influenza-like model, where strain recommendations are made by the end of the first quarter,” he continued.

Silvia Taylor

The company also presented data suggesting a homologous booster dose of their vaccine administered eight to 11 months after the primary vaccine series resulted in similar antibody levels compared to the company’s previous Phase III trials.

“Offering vaccine choices — and ensuring continuous access to those choices — must be at the center of any strategy to protect public health against COVID-19,” executive VP and chief communications officer Silvia Taylor said in an emailed statement.

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