IDT (ASX:IDT) share price swings as CEO lauds mRNA tech in fight against Omicron

Vaccine manufacturers are racing to get ahead of the fast-mutating coronavirus.

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The IDT Australia Limited (ASX: IDT) share price has been up and down today, currently down 2.46% to 59.5 cents per share.

Today's price swings follow on from an outstanding performance yesterday.

After the ASX medical research company reported it had successfully created the first mRNA COVID-19 vaccine candidate in Australia, the IDT share price surged, closing the day up more than 38%.

As the Motley Fool reported yesterday:

The drug product passed all the required specifications and is now going through the release process for clinical trials. In total, 450 doses of the vaccine have been manufactured, allowing 150 volunteers to take part in the upcoming study. This is expected to commence in the new year, with results expected later in 2022.

Below we look at why IDT's CEO, Dr David Sparling, says it's critical for Australia to have its own messenger RNA (mRNA) production facilities.

Why mRNA is a vital tool against COVID variants like Omicron

With COVID-19 having again mutated, many experts predict that Omicron will replace Delta as the prevalent strain in 2022. And most experts agree that Omicron is unlikely to be the last variant we see before, hopefully, humanity gets ahead of the pandemic.

Sparling says it's crucial that Australia obtains the ability to develop and produce its own mRNA vaccines domestically.

According to Sparling (quoted in the Australian Financial Review):

It's quite pivotal when you think about it. The dividends that can pay off in the future is the ability for us to be less reliant on overseas suppliers of vaccines and more reliant on our own capabilities.

The IDT share price has been volatile as it developed its vaccine candidate in only 5 months. The company worked together with the Monash Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences and Doherty Institute. Addressing the rapid development, Sparling said:

The reason why these vaccines were developed so quickly is because the vaccine can be modified very quickly. That is the beauty of this platform and this technology: you can put a new mRNA sequence into the vaccine and quickly change the vaccine for future variants…

Things can change very quickly, but what I would say is at least developing the capability to manufacture these things for ourselves puts us on the cutting edge of this science and put us in a very good position to fight whatever difficult issues that may come up next.

IDT share price snapshot

The IDT share price has had a tremendous year, up 213% since 4 January. For some context, the All Ordinaries Index (ASX: XAO) is up 8% year to date.

Over the past month IDT shares have gained 13%

The Motley Fool Australia's parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.

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