Shares of Ocugen Inc. were up 20.2% in trading on Monday after the Pennslyvania company said a COVID-19 vaccine it is contracted to develop with Indian biotechnology firm Bharat Biotech International Ltd. is “potentially” effective against B.126.96.36.199, or P.2., a variant first identified in Brazil in April 2020. The variant has been designated a variant of interest in the U.S. but is not considered a more serious variant of concern like the B.1.1.7. out of the U.K. or the P.1, which was also first identified in Brazil, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The study cited by Ocugen is a preprint, which is preliminary medical research that has not been peer-reviewed, and it compared IgG antibody titers in people who had received the shots to those who have recovered from COVID-19. The study was conducted in a lab and included 61 sera samples, two of which had the B.188.8.131.52 variant. Ocugen has said it is developing Bharat’s vaccine, which was approved in India in January, for the U.S. but has not yet initiated clinical trials for this market. Ocugen’s stock has soared 729.8% since the start of the year, while the S&P 500 is up 11.3%.
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