Spread bets and CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. 75% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading spread bets and CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you understand how spread bets and CFDs work, and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.
Spread bets and CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. 75% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading spread bets and CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you understand how spread bets and CFDs work, and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.

What are the coronavirus vaccine shares to watch?

Numerous companies are trying to tackle the biggest challenge facing modern-day society by creating vaccines for Covid-19. We outline the top coronavirus vaccine stocks to watch and tell you how to take a position.

Source: Bloomberg

1. Which companies are working on a coronavirus vaccine?

Many companies around the world have been racing to develop a coronavirus vaccine. A small group of them are leading the way in terms of clinical trials, and some have even been able to roll out vaccines for public use.

Efficacy March 2021
Pfizer-BioNTech 95%1 Approved for use
Moderna 94%1 Approved for use
University of Oxford-AstraZeneca 82%1 Approved for use
Johnson & Johnson 85%1 Approved for use
Sinovac 83.5%2 In phase 3 clinical trials
Sinopharm 72.5%3 In phase 3 clinical trials

2. How to trade or invest in coronavirus vaccine stocks

With us, you’ll be able to trade or invest in the coronavirus vaccine stocks listed in this article from within our award-winning trading platform.4

Trading enables you to speculate on a share’s price rising by going long (‘buy’) or falling by going short (‘sell’), by using derivatives like spread bets and CFDs. These products are leveraged, which gives you full market exposure for an initial deposit – known as margin. But, while leverage can increase your profits, it can also increase your losses.

Investing lets you take direct ownership of a company’s shares. You won’t be able to use leverage when you invest – so you’ll need to commit the full value of your position upfront, which caps your maximum risk at this initial cost. Plus, our commission rates are some of the most competitive in the industry, with zero commission on US shares, and £3 on certain UK shares.5

Trading coronavirus vaccine shares

  1. Create or log in to your trading account and go to our trading platform
  2. Decide whether you want to go long or short with spread bets or CFDs
  3. Search for the company you want to trade
  4. Choose your position size
  5. Select buy or sell and monitor your trade

Investing in coronavirus vaccine shares

  1. Create or log in to your share dealing account and go to our trading platform
  2. Search for the company you want to invest in
  3. Select ‘buy’ in the deal ticket to open your investment position
  4. Choose the number of shares you want to buy
  5. Confirm your purchase and monitor your investment

3. Top coronavirus vaccine stocks

We’ve focused on the most advanced vaccine candidates and concentrated on the ones that have been approved for use or are actively being tested on humans, rather than the multitude that are still in the preclinical stage.

  1. Pfizer-BioNTech
  2. Moderna
  3. University of Oxford and AstraZeneca
  4. Johnson & Johnson
  5. Sinovac
  6. Sinopharm

Pfizer- BioNTech

The Pfizer-BioNTech partnership was the first in the world to create a vaccine for clinical use – with the first doses administered in early- to mid-December 2020 to patients in the UK and the US.

Two primary vaccines underwent preliminary trials, and one was considered more tolerable for human use. This preferred candidate was then advanced to a phase 2 and phase 3 study on around 30,000 volunteers across the US, Argentina, Brazil and Germany.

The partnership planned to supply up to 100 million doses by the end of 2020 and approximately 1.3 billion doses by the end of 2021.

The vaccine requires two 30-microgram doses, spaced around three weeks apart and it must be stored and transported at minus 70 degrees Celsius.

Trade Pfizer shares


Moderna is working with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the US Department of Health, on its vaccine named mRNA-1273. The US firm was one of the first off the starting line when the genome sequence of the virus was released in early 2020.

The vaccine was declared safe and effective by US health experts on 15 December 2020 and it has since been rolled out for public use. Unlike the Pfizer vaccine, Moderna’s doesn’t need to be stored and transported at super cold temperatures. Instead, it can be stored at minus 20 degrees Celsius, which is around the temperature of many home freezers.

The dosages are also slightly different to other vaccines, requiring two 100-microgram doses given around four weeks apart. Moderna has been forming partnerships with other firms in the US to scale up manufacturing capabilities, and says it is aiming to deliver one billion doses in 2021.

Trade Moderna shares

University of Oxford and AstraZeneca

The University of Oxford has also developed a vaccine in the fight against Covid-19. Called ChAdOx1 nCoV-19, the vaccine is created from a weakened version of a common cold virus – modified to look like Covid-19.

Clinical trials of the Oxford vaccine showed that it was highly effective, and as an added bonus, it doesn’t need to be stored and transported at super-cold temperatures like the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines. Instead, it can be stored at fridge-temperature, meaning it can be easily rolled out to every corner of the world.

The University of Oxford has partnered with AstraZeneca in its vaccine rollout, and the company will be responsible for manufacturing and distributing the doses of the jab. Governments around the world have already pre-ordered over two billion doses, including the UK, US, Europe, India and a number of international vaccine and disease institutions.

Trade AstraZeneca shares

Johnson & Johnson

Johnson & Johnson (J&J) pharmaceutical arm Janssen Pharmaceuticals started to develop three potential vaccines, but it has since whittled these down to just one – which was approved for use in February 2021.

The phase 1 trial on the lead candidate, Ad26.COV2.S, started in the US and Belgium in mid-July 2020 after being brought forward by two months, highlighting the fast-track approval methods in use around the world for Covid-19 vaccines.

J&J has huge manufacturing capabilities and is also aiming to provide a ‘global supply of more than one billion doses of a vaccine’.

Trade Johnson & Johnson shares


Chinese biotech company Sinovac began work on its vaccine candidate called CoronaVac back in January. Phase 1 and 2 trials have been conducted in China, and phase 3 trials are currently still in progress.

Sinovac is working with Brazilian medicine manufacturer Butantan on the trial, but says it ‘has partnered with several companies outside of China for phase 3 efficacy studies’.

One of these was in Turkey – which published results on 3 March 2021. The study downgraded the Sinovac efficacy rate from the previously reported 91.2% to 83.5%.2

Trade Sinovac shares


Chinese pharmaceutical firm Sinopharm, also known as the China National Pharmaceutical Group, has been working on a vaccine developed by the Beijing Institute of Biological Products and the Wuhan Institute of Biological Products.

The Sinopharm vaccine is also still in phase 3 clinical trials – with an efficacy of 72.5% being reported by the company’s unit in Wuhan – the epicentre of the virus.

Sinopharm has been in the spotlight for so-called vaccine diplomacy after making potentially conflicting commitments to several countries around the world. That said, China joined Covax in October 2020, which is an international drive to ensure equal global access to Covid-19 vaccines.

Trade Sinopharm shares

4. How do clinical trials of a coronavirus vaccine work?

Vaccine development is risky and expensive at the best of times and it’s important to remember that the world has been racing to find one in record time. The College of Physicians of Philadelphia in the US says it often takes ‘10 to 15 years’ to develop a vaccine, while GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) says it can take up to 18 years and, even if it flies through the process, six years at best.

Considering the first potential vaccines only surfaced in 2020, it is incredible to think that some companies managed to develop a successful vaccine before the year’s end.

New vaccines take so long to roll out because they need to be rigorously tested before being used on the public, not only to see if they’re effective but also to see if they’re safe. The first stages are conducted under preclinical studies that usually involve testing candidates on animals before they move into clinical trials on humans.

There are three stages to clinical trials that need to be successfully completed before regulators consider whether to licence it and distribute it to the public. That said, in order to roll out a Covid-19 vaccine as quickly as possible, red tape has been cut and some companies and governments have run phase 1 and phase 2 trials concurrently.

  • Phase 1 involves testing the potential vaccine on a small group of people to gauge if there are any adverse reactions and see if it’s safe. This is also when the dosage is monitored to ensure it is sufficient
  • Phase 2 is all about proving the vaccine is safe for human use. This involves trialling the candidate on a larger group of people, which also provides better insight into how effective it is
  • Phase 3 is the final and biggest hurdle to clear. This involves large-scale trials with tens of thousands of people and the test focuses on efficacy rather than safety, although both are monitored closely

If phase 3 goes well then a vaccine goes forward to regulators who will decide whether to licence and approve it for public use. It’s worth noting that different countries have their own regulators and processes, although most follow some form of the phase 1-2-3 model.

1 The Economist, March 2021
2 US News, March 2021
3 Reuters, February 2021
4 As awarded at the ADVFN International Financial Awards 2020 and Professional Trader Awards 2019.
5 Our best commission rates are available to clients who opened three or more positions on their share dealing account in the previous month.

This information has been prepared by IG, a trading name of IG Markets Limited. In addition to the disclaimer below, the material on this page does not contain a record of our trading prices, or an offer of, or solicitation for, a transaction in any financial instrument. IG accepts no responsibility for any use that may be made of these comments and for any consequences that result. No representation or warranty is given as to the accuracy or completeness of this information. Consequently any person acting on it does so entirely at their own risk. Any research provided does not have regard to the specific investment objectives, financial situation and needs of any specific person who may receive it. It has not been prepared in accordance with legal requirements designed to promote the independence of investment research and as such is considered to be a marketing communication. Although we are not specifically constrained from dealing ahead of our recommendations we do not seek to take advantage of them before they are provided to our clients. See full non-independent research disclaimer and quarterly summary.

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