It's that time of the year again: the Flu Season.
We see it every year at this time, and we try to take all the necessary precautions. If you're more conscientious than I am, you have probably taken a flu shot. My daughter, who works at a local school, told me recently that 40 of their students were homesick. That's a large number for this small school.
And we try not to come in contact with any strangers. At Church, our Priest has instructed that there will be no passing of the Peace until Flu Season is over.
Perhaps most surprising to many, even the Stock Market took note of the recent outbreak of the Coronavirus in China, by opening down on Tuesday's opening.
And I think that financial markets are right in begin concerned about a possible outbreak of this new strain on Viral Infection.
For anyone who has suffered through a bout with the Flu, you know how debilitating it can be. In a particularly difficult case, you are totally incapacitated, unable to function. Spending all your time “being sick” in all the ugly ramifications of that.
In the worst case, these viruses can cause death. The ultimate economic loss.
Perhaps most disconcerting is that Science really has no handle on how these diseases begin, or even how they are transmitted. Right now the Coronavirus has infected fewer than 250 people, but the number is growing daily.
And this coronavirus follows on the heels of two closely related outbreaks of different strains of coronavirus.
The first outbreak was back in 2002-3, with the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome: known simply as SARS. It too originated in China. And before it was over it had infected over 8,000 people worldwide, killing nearly 10% of them.
The Chinese Government was heavily criticized for downplaying this outbreak. Which many felt lead to a lack of quarantine which in turn caused the disease to spread.
Just 10 years later there was a second outbreak of a coronavirus, this time from the Middle East, called MERS, The Middle East Respiratory Syndrome. But this time the disease appeared not to be as easily passed from person to person. And only about 2,500 people were infected by MERS. However most concerning, about 1/3rd of those died.
So here we are with the third outbreak of a Coronavirus. Again in China, and we are at a very early stage in this current outbreak if the official Chinese numbers are too be believed. Right now it is impossible to predict just what will be the impact of all this.
Most concerning is that this Saturday the Chinese will celebrate the New Year, the year of the Rat. It's a time when literally millions of Chinese will take to the roads to visit friends and family. And I'm sure that many will fly overseas for the celebration. This is the perfect opportunity for this new virus to spread.
Never one to miss out on a perceived opportunity, Market Watch is reporting on four experimental vaccine stocks that have already seen their stock prices rocket up as much as 75% on the news of the outbreak.
The four companies are: Novavax, Incorporated, a developer of vaccines for various infectious diseases. NanoViricides, Incorporated, a maker of nano-medicines for viral diseases. AthelonMedical, symbol AEMD a maker of hemopurifiers and biotech company, Invio Pharmaceuticals Oncolytics Biotech.
And note no recommendation here from me, I refer you to the January 21 edition of Market Watch for their full article.
I suppose this is what makes Wall Street so endlessly fascinating. On the one hand, we are often criticized for profiting from a tragedy.
But what we may be seeing here is what Adam Smith called the invisible hand.
Investors, seeking opportunities are supplying the capital needed to perform the research that may one day find a cure for these awful diseases.
The Market Watch Article can be found here:
The Five Stocks mentioned are:
Novavax, Inc. NVAX Nanovidicide, Inc NNVC Aethlon Medical, Inc. AEMD Inovio Pharmecuticals, Inc. INO Oncolytics Biotech, Inc. ONCY