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market | IST

Cipla, AstraZeneca, Pfizer, others rally as focus shifts to pharma on emergence of new COVID variant

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While Sensex and Nifty experienced the worst meltdown since April 2021, pharma stocks rose as the investor focus shifted to pharma and healthcare companies amid reports of a new fast-spearing COVID variant. The BSE Healthcare index was up over 2 percent, with Cipla, AstraZeneca, and Pfizer stocks rising over 6 percent.

Shares of pharmaceutical and healthcare companies like Solara, AstraZeneca, Cipla surged over 6 percent on Friday in an otherwise negative market -- the sharpest drop in seven months -- on reports of a fast-spreading COVID-19 variant that emerged in South Africa.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) warned of the new and possibly vaccine-resistant COVID variant B.1.1.529. According to primary research findings, the variant harbours a constellation of mutations and thus, is likely to have a higher transmission rate than the Delta variant.
The S&P BSE Healthcare index rose over 2 percent even as Sensex declined 2.5 percent as the investor focus shifted to pharma stocks amid the reports of the new variant.
Pharma stocks, sensex, nifty, stocks
The shares of Solara Active Pharma -- a pure-play API company -- surged over  8 percent, rising to an intraday high of Rs 1,175. At 11:15 am, the stock was trading over 7.5 percent higher at Rs 1,168.
AstraZeneca India, a research-based biopharma company and COVID-19 vaccine maker, was also up over 8 percent, rising to an intraday high of Rs 3,280. At 11:15 am, the stock was trading over 6 percent higher at Rs 3,224.
Cipla India, a large-cap pharma company, rose as high as 6.5 percent to Rs 958.7. Panacea Bio, a manufacturing partner of Russia's RDIF for the sale of Sputnik V vaccine in India, also rose over 5 percent, hitting an intraday high of Rs  202.15.


Pfizer India, a COVID-19 vaccine maker, saw an increase of 5.5 percent in share price. The stocks rose to an intraday high of Rs 5,168. At the time of writing, it was up over 4 percent to Rs 5,111.
Glenmark Pharma, headquartered in Mumbai, also witnessed a surge of 4 percent as it rose to a high of Rs 551.5. At 11:30, it was up over 1.5 percent to Rs 538. Laurus Labs, a pharma and biotech company, also rose 4 percent to Rs 555. At 11:30, the stock was up over 1.3 percent to Rs 541.
The shares of Dr Lal Path Labs, a diagnostics test provider, surged over 6.5 percent to Rs 3,650. It was up over 4 percent to Rs 3,566 at the time of writing.