At a glance
- The pharmaceutical industry is not immune from the disruption caused by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, but for some companies there are also opportunities
- Testing, drugs that treat symptoms and the provision of necessary equipment could provide a boost for some companies
- Using technology to track people’s movement or enforce quarantine is another potential weapon in the armoury to combat COVID-19
- Ultimately finding a vaccine is the only long-term solution to the crisis. Understanding how close we are to a solution that triggers a sustainable recovery is crucial for investors
The coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic has caught the world unawares. Against a background of human tragedy and the interruption of daily life, scientists are moving rapidly to find a solution that will allow normal activity to resume. The biggest push is towards development of a vaccine. Another focus is on finding an effective treatment for symptoms. Scientists are also in pursuit of an antibody test to identify who has already had the disease and is therefore potentially immune. In addition, governments are exploring non-medical disease mitigation, such as the use of social media and tracing to further contain the spread of the virus. Some Asian countries have deployed this technology to increase the effectiveness of social distancing and it may be deployed elsewhere, despite the civil liberty issues.
For investors, these are unprecedented and challenging times with high levels of uncertainty and market volatility to contend with. We explore the latest scientific developments to provide investors with some clarity and context, as well as consider companies that could potentially benefit from a medical breakthrough.
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