Healthcare Business

7 Companies in the Fight to Defeat the Zika Virus

In 2016, it is the Zika virus that has the public worried about the next pandemic. Past scares have been around Ebola, E. coli, SARS, mad cow, swine flu and many others over the years. These are all real issues, and unfortunately these diseases and viruses have led to countless illnesses, as well as many deaths for human and animals alike.

The Zika virus is now actively targeted by the U.S. National Institutes of Health, the World Health Organization and other governmental agencies and non-governmental bodies. The rate of infection is growing and the damage to unborn babies is more traumatic than any parent would ever wish to deal with.

Now that the National Institutes of Health has over 500 travel-associated cases (as of May 18) and over 800 cases in U.S. territories, the heat is on for a vaccine or a cure. This represents huge opportunity for the businesses targeting Zika, and as of May 25 the amount that will be used to fund this research for a cure remains pending.

24/7 Wall St. has tracked Zika’s developments and the companies that are targeting the virus. Many companies are being passed around as Zika virus winners, but the reality is that many of them are so small or have sketchy histories. This is why we are featuring seven notable companies targeting the Zika virus. Not all of them are solely located in the United States, and this list excludes any of the would-be winners that are penny stocks or are listed on alternative exchanges.

Many traders and investors already have made their Zika investments and bets. With newer funding at hand, if it is finalized, investors might want to avoid the risks of some companies. There is no free lunch, and by now it should be obvious that the biotech and emerging medical area can be far riskier than other traditional sectors.

One more warning needs to be heeded here. Dr. Anthony Fauci, who oversees the National Institutes of Health’s efforts on allergy and infectious diseases, as well as emerging diseases such as Ebola and Zika, has warned that no virus cure exists now nor will in the immediate future. He has said:

We will not have a widely available safe and effective Zika vaccine this year and probably not even in the next few years.

A few years is forever for many investors and speculators. Consider yourself warned that there may be no easy path to profits here. Unfortunately, there is also the risk that no one may win in this fight against the Zika virus.

Gilead Sciences Inc. (NASDAQ: GILD) may be best known for treating HIV/AIDS and hepatitis C, but the world’s biotech giant also has patented compounds for inhibiting flavivirus infections and that is said to include the Zika virus infection. Gilead has found itself on the business end of a price targeting for the political campaign folly in 2016, and trading at $86.50, its market value is $115 billion. The stock has a 52-week trading range of $81.28 to $123.37.

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