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Virus boost: Concerns on the safety of a vaccine for the coronavirus has allowed glove stocks to sustain their gains, while pharmaceutical counters are also seeing some uptrend.

PETALING JAYA: The efficacy of a potential Covid-19 vaccine continues to be a concern even as the need for it becomes prevalent.

This has allowed glove stocks to sustain their gains, while pharmaceutical counters are also seeing some gains, but not yet a strong interest moving into their shares.

“Safety concerns are one of the factors for this trend. A normal vaccine will take a long time, 20 to 30 years, to be developed but this is being done at a very fast pace. A proven vaccine is not yet around the corner, ” Rakuten Trade Research vice-president Vincent Lau told StarBiz.

“There have also been reports of major pharmaceutical companies such as Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca pausing their vaccine trial on safety concerns.

“We are still in the early days of a reliable vaccine but, to be honest, local pharmaceutical stocks have also gone up quite a bit, ” he added.

Lau said demand was still visible in rubber gloves and the companies operating in this sector were still seeing record demand.

“The glove-makers are seeing record orders and this will be visible earnings for them even into the year 2021.

“The local pharmaceutical companies are only involved in the distribution side (supply chain), ” he added.

Locally based pharmaceutical stocks have seen some gains following a probable vaccine development by the end of the year and into 2021.

Pharmaniaga Bhd rose 20 sen to close at RM5.39 last Friday, while Duopharma Biotech Bhd rose 18 sen to RM3.94.

Pharmaniaga was reported as saying in late August that it expects a vaccine to be available in the country in the first or second quarter of next year.

It was also reported last Tuesday that China had agreed to include Malaysia on its list of priority recipients for a potential Covid-19 vaccine.

The New York Times recently reported that the first Covid-19 vaccines may provide only moderate protection, with people still needing to keep wearing their masks.

The report also said some vaccines may eventually be abruptly withdrawn from the market as they may turn out to be unsafe.

Dr Gregory Poland, the director of the Vaccine Research Group at the Mayo Clinic, had been quoted as saying that hardly anyone realised the amount of chaos and confusion that will happen if, and once, a vaccine becomes available.