Airlines, hotels, casinos and stocks linked to Wuhan, China, continue to fall as fear of the coronavirus deters international travel and all but halts activity in the virus epicenter. Auto companies have suspended business travel to the affected region, and cruise lines are turning away ill guests.
But one sector, in particular, could profit from the outbreak.
Alpha Pro Tech
Alpha Pro Tech, Ltd. (NYSE: APT) manufactures masks and protective apparel — goods already in high demand in China. Bulk orders are expected as the disease progresses.
Lakeland Industries, Inc. (NASDAQ: LAKE) also produces protective clothes for high-risk workers, such as the medical professionals and public health officials exposing themselves to patients. Lakeland has historically surged during outbreaks and proved a favored supplier amid the Ebola outbreak.
Utah medtech company Co-Diagnostics Inc (NASDAQ: CODX) is developing a test for the new coronavirus strain. Chinese officials and fearful travel companies demonstrate high demand for accurate diagnostics, as fever has proven an unreliable indicator of disease.
The portfolio of Vir Biotechnology Inc (NASDAQ: VIR) includes an antibody for another coronavirus strain, but management is testing to determine efficacy on the Wuhan strain.
“We have a library of multiple fully-human mAbs that bind and neutralize coronaviruses such as SARS and MERS,” Chief Scientific Officer Herbert “Skip” Virgin said in a press release. “...Some of these mAbs are able to neutralize zoonotic coronaviruses, and we believe may have the potential to treat and prevent Wuhan coronavirus. We are also exploring the isolation of new mAbs specific for this virus.”
BioCryst Pharmaceuticals, Inc.'s (NASDAQ: BCRX) galidesivir is in a Phase 1 study for a range of viruses, including coronaviruses. The early stage of development may prohibit material contribution in the immediate outbreak, but BioCryst may be able to lend some useful data.
Inovio Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ: INO) is developing a vaccine to treat the MERS strain of coronavirus. While the drug has passed only Phase 1 benchmarks, management may be able to contribute its research toward the Wuhan coronavirus effort. It has already joined forces with the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations toward this end.
NanoViricides Inc (NYSE: NNVC) produces nan-medicines to fight virus such as swine flu and bird flu. It also has early-stage programs for Dengue viruses and Ebola and once dabbled in a MERS candidate.
Oncology pharmaceutical Cleveland BioLabs, Inc. (NASDAQ: CBLI) develops immune-receptor activators for vaccines targeting various types of infection. Its vaccine adjuvant is currently in Phase 1 trials.
Cerus Corporation (NASDAQ: CERS) uses proprietary technology to inactivate the SARS strain, and it's looking to adapt its approach to the novel Wuhan strain.
Moderna Inc (NASDAQ: MRNA) received new funding from vaccine alliance CEPI to accelerate its work on a coronavirus vaccine, and it has joined forces with the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations on a vaccine approach.
Aethlon Medical, Inc. (NASDAQ: AEMD) treats viral infections with its hemopurifier. The product boosts immune defenses by capturing otherwise poorly-detected circulating viruses. It is presently in clinical studies.
AstraZeneca plc (NYSE: AZN) said it had plans in place for an event such as this, but it awaits direction from the World Health Organization before acting.
“It really looks like at this point it’s very contained,” AstraZeneca CEO Pascal Soriot told CNBC. “We have a very large presence in China — we’re the number one pharmaceutical company there, we employ 16,000 people — so as you would imagine it matters to us, we really care a lot and we’ll monitor this, but it really looks like it’s contained for the time being.”