Best of the Week
Most Popular
1. The Trump Stock Market Trap May Be Triggered - Barry_M_Ferguson
2.Why are Central Banks Buying Gold and Dumping Dollars? - Richard_Mills
3.US China War - Thucydides Trap and gold - Richard_Mills
4.Gold Price Trend Forcast to End September 2019 - Nadeem_Walayat
5.Money Saving Kids Gardening Growing Giant Sunflowers Summer Fun - Anika_Walayat
6.US Dollar Breakdown Begins, Gold Price to Bolt Higher - Jim_Willie_CB
7.INTEL (INTC) Stock Investing to Profit From AI Machine Learning Boom - Nadeem_Walayat
8.Will Google AI Kill Us? Man vs Machine Intelligence - N_Walayat
9.US Prepares for Currency War with China - Richard_Mills
10.Gold Price Epochal Breakout Will Not Be Negated by a Correction - Clive Maund
Last 7 days
Has Next UK Financial Crisis Just Started? Bank Accounts Being Frozen - 21st July 19
Silver to Continue Lagging Gold, Will Struggle to Overcome $17 - 21st July 19
What’s With all the Weird Weather?  - 21st July 19
Halifax Stopping Customers Withdrawing Funds Online - UK Brexit Banking Crisis Starting? - 21st July 19
US House Prices Trend Forecast 2019 to 2021 - 20th July 19
MICROSOFT Cortana, Azure AI Platform Machine Intelligence Stock Investing Video - 20th July 19
Africa Rising – Population Explosion, Geopolitical and Economic Consquences - 20th July 19
Gold Mining Stocks Q2’19 Results Analysis - 20th July 19
This Is Your Last Chance to Dump Netflix Stock - 19th July 19
Gold and US Stock Mid Term Election and Decade Cycles - 19th July 19
Precious Metals Big Picture, as Silver Gets on its Horse - 19th July 19
This Technology Everyone Laughed Off Is Quietly Changing the World - 19th July 19
Green Tech Stocks To Watch - 19th July 19
Double Top In Transportation and Metals Breakout Are Key Stock Market Topping Signals - 18th July 19
AI Machine Learning PC Custom Build Specs for £2,500 - Scan Computers 3SX - 18th July 19
The Best “Pick-and-Shovel” Play for the Online Grocery Boom - 18th July 19
Is the Stock Market Rally Floating on Thin Air? - 18th July 19
Biotech Stocks With Near Term Catalysts - 18th July 19
SPX Consolidating, GBP and CAD Could be in Focus - 18th July 19
UK House Building and Population Growth Analysis - 17th July 19
Financial Crisis Stocks Bear Market Is Scary Close - 17th July 19
Want to See What's Next for the US Economy? Try This. - 17th July 19
What to do if You Blow the Trading Account - 17th July 19
Bitcoin Is Far Too Risky for Most Investors - 17th July 19
Core Inflation Rises but Fed Is Going to Cut Rates. Will Gold Gain? - 17th July 19
Boost your Trading Results - FREE eBook - 17th July 19
This Needs To Happen Before Silver Really Takes Off - 17th July 19
NASDAQ Should Reach 8031 Before Topping - 17th July 19
US Housing Market Real Terms BUY / SELL Indicator - 16th July 19
Could Trump Really Win the 2020 US Presidential Election? - 16th July 19
Gold Stocks Forming Bullish Consolidation - 16th July 19
Will Fed Easing Turn Out Like 1995 or 2007? - 16th July 19
Red Rock Entertainment Investments: Around the world in a day with Supreme Jets - 16th July 19
Silver Has Already Gone from Weak to Strong Hands - 15th July 19
Top Equity Mutual Funds That Offer Best Returns - 15th July 19
Gold’s Breakout And The US Dollar - 15th July 19
Financial Markets, Iran, U.S. Global Hegemony - 15th July 19
U.S Bond Yields Point to a 40% Rise in SPX - 15th July 19
Corporate Earnings may Surprise the Stock Market – Watch Out! - 15th July 19
Stock Market Interest Rate Cut Prevails - 15th July 19
Dow Stock Market Trend Forecast Current State July 2019 Video - 15th July 19
Why Summer is the Best Time to be in the Entertainment Industry - 15th July 19
Mid-August Is A Critical Turning Point For US Stocks - 14th July 19
Fed’s Recessionary Indicators and Gold - 14th July 19
The Problem with Keynesian Economics - 14th July 19

Market Oracle FREE Newsletter

Top AI Stocks Investing to Profit from the Machine Intelligence Mega-trend

Deadly Saudi MERS-CoV Global Pandemic Bio-tech Stocks Profit Potential

Companies / BioTech Jun 17, 2013 - 02:39 AM GMT

By: Money_Morning


Greg Madison writes: One of the really beneficial things about science is its power to transcend borders and ideologies. Scientists in countries that may be totally hostile to one another have the chance of collaborating on difficult problems in a spirit of openness.

This ability to collaborate and exchange information across borders is particularly important when a new disease with global pandemic potential emerges, as it has in the Middle East with the respiratory system coronavirus (MERS-CoV).

This "novel coronavirus" was identified in September of 2012 in the Saudi Red Sea port of Jeddah. The disease was found in a deceased 60-year old man who died of acute pneumonia and kidney failure. Little else is known of this unfortunate individual.

A Scary Bug
MERS-CoV is a scary bug. There have been 51 reported cases radiating outward from the Arabian Peninsula, from Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, and Tunisia, out to Germany, France, and Italy. The death toll presently stands at 30, giving an informal "mortality rate" of more than 50%. The overwhelming majority of those deaths have occurred in Saudi Arabia.

Which is why the deafening silence coming from Saudi Arabia's Ministry of Health is troubling - if not downright scary. World Health Organization scientists seeking to tackle the problem desperately need any data the Saudis can provide

But Scientific American has reported that the Saudi health ministry has done little except announce new cases and report deaths from MERS-CoV. Even basic patient information like age, sex, pre-existing conditions, co-morbidity, and any other factors are left out of the Saudi reports

Early indications are that MERS-CoV does not spread easily from person to person... yet. When viruses are concerned, evolutionary leaps and bounds happen in the (relative) blink of an eye. This has the WHO worried.

Millions May Be Headed For The Epicenter
And there is good reason for worry. Global air travel is a huge problem when dealing with any pandemic, for obvious reasons. The free flow of people means the free flow of disease, but only rarely do people fly directly into the epicenter of a pandemic.

Yet, we're less than one month away from the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. Ramadan coincides with a huge influx of religious tourists to Saudi Arabia, as millions of pilgrims arrive from all over the world to take part in the Umrah and Hajj rituals practiced by observant Muslims. These pilgrimages are among the largest single movements of humanity, and they happen every year. During the pilgrimage, the great throngs of human beings are visible by satellite.

During these rituals, pilgrims from every continent,from more than 150 countries, live, eat, and worship for weeks in communal, necessarily primitive conditions in the desert outside the holy city of Mecca.

This year, these pilgrims could be walking into a very dangerous situation indeed. During any "routine" pilgrimage season, if anything like this could be called routine, the Saudi government faces enormous logistical challenges in accommodating the millions of tourists. Mix in a potentially lethal pandemic to the equation, and a timeless, sacred ritual turns ugly very quickly.

The disease need not strike pilgrims first. In addition to being the gateway to Mecca, Jeddah is an ancient Red Sea port. Ships come and go, day after day after day, as they have for centuries. Cosmopolitan Jeddah ties the Arabian Peninsula to East Africa, the Indian subcontinent, and China beyond. Billions of people have indirect exposure to anything that happens in that city.

Most Saudi oil is exported from three major ports on either the Red Sea or the Persian Gulf; Ras Tanura, Ras al-Ju'aymah, and Yanbu. Tankers leave these facilities for destinations all over the world. Any one of those tankers could potentially carry MERS-CoV to the outside world.

More Questions Than Answers
To be clear, there is absolutely nothing special about Saudi Arabia or its people that makes it more or less prone to be the origin of this virus. It's just a diabolical luck of the draw, and there's every chance that it was a case of a person coming into contact with an infected animal, a case of zoonosis - something that happens all over the world as the human population expands and wild habitats shrink. There are far more dangerous things than hungry bears and angry spiders out in the wilds.

It would be irresponsible to say that MERS-CoV will definitely become a global health crisis. The WHO just doesn't have enough information to make that determination. MERS-CoV's communicability rate, whether or not it can spread through sustained contact, even its method of infection, are all huge gray areas.

The WHO is very concerned about it, while other scientists just aren't. This split decision is thanks in part to the unwillingness of the Saudi health ministry to open up about the facts. What we're left with is a limited body of evidence, some precedent, some (very) educated guesswork, and potentially deadly unanswered questions.

That's not a great way for scientists to fight a disease, especially one with the ghastly potential of MERS-CoV. A situation where people flow freely while information is withheld is a nightmare scenario for disease fighting.

Back To The Future
If anything, scientists may have to go back to the future, and take a hard look at at the SARS-CoV outbreak which occurred in the early part of the last decade. SARS-CoV was a coronavirus, like this new emerging threat, and it did spread widely across the planet, though it caused (relatively) few deaths. Coronaviruses infect both humans and animals, and in many cases, humans only get sick once the virus - endemic in such and such an animal population - makes the jump to an unlucky human. The most well-known of the coronaviruses is the common cold, something that most of us have experienced at one time or another.

The SARS outbreak brought renewed research into coronaviruses. The disease caught the world with its collective pants down. It was a global threat, and there was no therapy in place besides evaluating each patient and moving on from there.

Some companies are working on direct vaccines, while others are working on genetic therapies. Scicasts reports that the latter approach involves tweaking the way specific human organs, like the lungs and respiratory tract, react to the havoc that these viruses can wreak on them. A lot of these options are a lot more feasible now than they were just 10 years ago, but there's still a lot of ground left to cover.

Those looking for a way to fish the murky waters of research investment might do well to cast a wide net. Hunting for individual biotech stocks, usually small caps, can be a frustrating proposition.

But there's always the iShares NASDAQ Biotechnology ETF (Nasdaq:IBB). This ETF has exposure to a huge array of biotech stocks across the entire sector, more than have of them big-caps. And it's a strong performer as well, with convincing 52-week performance running from $121 to about $187. The ETF currently sits at around $178 or so, with some room to run. It's actually up 29% over the past six months.

What do you think will happen with the #MERS virus? Should we expect the worst? Sound off on our Twitter page, or drop us a line on Facebook.

Source :

Money Morning/The Money Map Report

©2013 Monument Street Publishing. All Rights Reserved. Protected by copyright laws of the United States and international treaties. Any reproduction, copying, or redistribution (electronic or otherwise, including on the world wide web), of content from this website, in whole or in part, is strictly prohibited without the express written permission of Monument Street Publishing. 105 West Monument Street, Baltimore MD 21201, Email:

Disclaimer: Nothing published by Money Morning should be considered personalized investment advice. Although our employees may answer your general customer service questions, they are not licensed under securities laws to address your particular investment situation. No communication by our employees to you should be deemed as personalized investent advice. We expressly forbid our writers from having a financial interest in any security recommended to our readers. All of our employees and agents must wait 24 hours after on-line publication, or after the mailing of printed-only publication prior to following an initial recommendation. Any investments recommended by Money Morning should be made only after consulting with your investment advisor and only after reviewing the prospectus or financial statements of the company.

Money Morning Archive

© 2005-2019 - The Market Oracle is a FREE Daily Financial Markets Analysis & Forecasting online publication.

Post Comment

Only logged in users are allowed to post comments. Register/ Log in

6 Critical Money Making Rules