French vaccine success will leave mark on UK

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A biologist at the French-Austrian biotech firm Valneva works on an inactivated whole-virus vaccine against COVID-19 in a laboratory in Vienna, Austria, December 16, 2021.

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LONDON, Jan 20 (Reuters Breakingviews) - The best revenge after rejection is to live well. French vaccine maker Valneva (VLS.PA) is bearing that out, with its shares soaring 22% on Thursday after revealing its Covid-19 vaccine is effective at neutralising the highly contagious Omicron variant. That’s a bitter pill for Britain to swallow – Prime Minister Boris Johnson spiked an order of 100 million doses amid a spat over supply agreements.

Valneva’s jab is starting to outshine even mRNA titans Pfizer (PFE.N) and Moderna (MRNA.O) in tackling Covid-19 mutations. A recent study in Israel read more showed a fourth dose of the Pfizer shot was unable to prevent Omicron transmission. Valneva’s serum, which could be approved in the coming months, also has fewer side effects than the UK’s home-grown AstraZeneca (AZN.L) vaccine. Its reliance on established flu-vaccine technology is another plus as it may meet less opposition from anti-vaxxers. If another variant comes along, Britain’s victory laps at the imminent lifting of its anti-Omicron social restrictions may look premature. (By Aimee Donnellan)

(The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are their own.)

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