Monday, August 24, 2009

Swine flu portfolio rally

Shares of BCRX, NVAX, SVA, HEB, and APT all increased double-digit percentages today. I keep expecting the overall market to roll over and have protective puts in place--hence, the hedges keep eroding in value. But I am not complaining, given triple digit gains on the aforementioned stocks.

Exit strategies for longs need to be in place. But after polling several experts in the field, the swine flu will be worse than general public expectations. Also, very few understand the five vaccines and the anti-virals available, either approved or under Emergency Use Authorization review. Unless, of course, they've been reading these blogs for a few months (pardon the temporary lapse in modesty).

The most recent update is that egg-based vaccines won't be available until October, due to lower than expected yields. With a 21-day duration between doses, and one more week thereafter before immunogenicity kicks in, most students and young adults won't be immunized until November at the earliest. As noted before, with schools already in session, the swine flu will peak in October, rendering many vaccines useless among the targeted population.

Anti-virals will have to step in, even though Tamiflu has tolerability as well as efficacy issues due to resistance. Inhaled Relenza has limitations, so intravenously administered Peramivir has BCRX longs excited about an imminent EUA stockpiling order.

Good luck to all longs, and good luck to those who will become infected with the novel H1N1 virus.

Disclosure: Long shares in BCRX, NVAX, SVA, HEB, and APT.

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