Despite concerns of a spreading coronavirus out of China, biotechnology stocks and sector-related ETFs are not enjoying the usual bump on hopes of developing new treatments to counter the contagion.
Among the worst performing non-leveraged ETFs of Friday, the Virtus LifeSci Biotech Clinical Trials ETF (BBC) declined 3.4% and SPDR S&P Biotech ETF (NYSEArca: XBI) decreased 3.2%. Meanwhile, the more broadly watched iShares Nasdaq Biotechnology ETF (NasdaqGS: IBB) fell 2.5%.
In the biotech space, investors may focus on three companies that would combat the coronavirus, including Novax (NasdaqGS: NVAX), Moderna (NasdaqGS: MRNA) and NanoVericides (NYSE: NNVC), WCCFTech reports.
Novax is working on vaccine targeting seasonal influenza, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and Ebola, and its successful vaccine for the MERS virus along with its history with this family of viruses makes it standout in case of a coronavirus epidemic.
Moderna is developing several vaccines to cure respiratory syndromes and flu. The company is now working to develop a vaccine for the coronavirus.
Lastly, NanoViricides is developing nanotechnology-based anti-viral vaccines that target several infectious diseases including influenza. The company also has experience treatments for MERS and Ebola, which makes it a candidate for a successful coronavirus vaccine.
Federal and state health officials said Tuesday that a man in Washington state was the first confirmed U.S. case of the new coronavirus outbreak, the Wall Street Journal reported.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Friday added the second U.S. case of the new coronavirus in a Chicago woman, Reuters reports. The CDC also added that as many as 63 potential cases were being investigated, and 11 have tested negative.
The new virus has claimed the lives of 26 people and infected over 800, but most of the cases and deaths have been contained to China. The virus remains a relative unknown as officials do not know how dangerous it is and how it spreads.
“CDC believes the immediate risk to the American public is low at this time, but the situation continues to evolve rapidly,” Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of the CDC’s Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, said.
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