The stock price rallied Monday for companies developing solutions to Monkeypox as several regions of the U.S. declare the virus an emergency and concerns rise about vaccine shortages.
New York became the second major U.S. city to call the outbreak a public health emergency.
New York Mayor Eric Adams and city health commissioner Dr. Ashwin Vasan made the announcement Aug. 1, saying an estimated 150,000 New Yorkers may be at risk for exposure to monkeypox.
There were 4,600 reported cases of monkeypox in the U.S. as of July 27 and no known deaths, according to the Washington Post. The number of cases is expected to double every 7.6 days.
“New York City now has over 1,200 reported cases, approximately 25 percent of cases nationally, and we are continuing to see the numbers rise,” Mayor Adams said in a prepared statement.
The World Health Organization declared a global emergency on July 23 after monkeypox spread to more than 70 countries in a few months. San Francisco declared a state of emergency on Thursday, July 28 when the number of monkeypox cases reached 28 there. New York State also declared a state of emergency and the Biden administration is considering declaring a national emergency.
“We have an outbreak that has spread around the world rapidly, through new modes of transmission, about which we understand too little,” said Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the director-general of the WHO, in a statement. “I have decided that the global monkeypox outbreak represents a public health emergency of international concern.”
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Investor demand is rising for shares in monkeypox vaccines, antiviral drug makers and protective equipment manufacturers, Bloomberg reported. It’s a strategy that produced gains and worked out well for some investors during the coronavirus pandemic.
Stocks that were trading higher on Monday include Virax Biolabs Group (VRAX), GeoVax Labs (GOVX), and Tonix Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:TNXP) (up ~42%, ~52%, and ~21%, respectively), according to Seeking Alpha. Others trading higher include Chimerix (CMRX), Bavarian Nordic (OTCPK:BVNKF) (OTCPK:BVNRY), and Co-Diagnostics (CODX).
Shares rose for Chatham, NJ-based Tonix after the company announced that it was collaborating with the Kenya Medical Research Institute to seek regulatory approval for a Phase 1 clinical trial in Kenya to develop a vaccine for monkeypox and smallpox.
Siga Technologies (SIGA) makes an antiviral called TPOXX that is approved in the E.U. for use against monkeypox, according to Barrons. The U.S. has stockpiled it although it is not yet approved. Emergent Biosolutions (EBS) makes a smallpox vaccine that it says can prevent monkeypox. Inovio Pharmaceuticals (INO) said in 2010 that an experimental vaccine against smallpox offered protection to primates in a monkeypox trial.
The U.S. has 1.1 million doses of the two-dose Jynneos vaccine, which is made in Denmark by Bavarian Nordic. It’s the only shot approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for preventing monkeypox. Originally made to fight smallpox, it has been found to be 85 percent effective against monkeypox.
The U.S. is expected to acquire 2 million doses of the vaccine by the end of 2022, but 3.2 million shots are needed to protect those at risk.
Monkey symptoms include fever, headache, muscle and backache, swollen lymph nodes,
chills, exhaustion, sore throat, nasal congestion, or cough, and a rash on or near the genitals or anus, hands, feet, chest, face, or mouth. The rash can look like pimples or blisters and may be painful or itchy, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
“At the moment, the world is relying on one manufacturer, Bavarian Nordic, for the monkeypox vaccine,” said Manish Bhargava, a fund manager at Straits Investment Holdings Pte in Singapore. “To keep up with demand, we can expect other biotech firms to ramp up research and production. It’s starting to reflect in the strong stock price performance for the sector.”