The World Health Organization has declared the 2022 outbreak of monkeypox a global health emergency. The monkeypox crisis isn't as severe as the COVID-19 pandemic, but it has a number of health care and biotech stocks on the move.
The Numbers: At this point, there are about 5,000 officially confirmed cases of monkeypox in the U.S. While that number may seem very small, experts say the true number of cases nationwide may be several multiples higher. In addition, the U.S. accounts for nearly 25% of the total global cases of monkeypox, making it a hotspot for the disease.
Nearly 2 million doses of antiviral drug TPOXX are reportedly sitting in the Strategic National Stockpile, but health care providers have said it has been difficult to gain access to the medication for infected patients.
Fortunately, monkeypox isn't nearly as transmissible as COVID-19. Monkeypox is a close relative to smallpox, and it is spread primarily through sores or lesions during close personal contact, as well as through shared objects, such as towels or linens. It is also spread via respiratory secretions during prolonged face-to-face contact.
Ninety-eight percent of reported cases have been in men who have sex with men, according to WHO data quoted by the Washington Post. The supply of the Jynneos vaccine is expected to be far outstripped by demand in the months ahead, the newspaper said in a separate report.
Stocks On The Move: One of the biggest monkeypox market movers has understandably been the maker of TPOXX, SIGA Technologies, Inc. SIGA. SIGA shares have already more than doubled year-to-date in 2022.
Bavarian Nordic A/S - ADR BVNRY shares have also soared 57.4% in the last month as governments have begun ordering doses of its monkeypox vaccine. In July, Bavarian reported that an undisclosed European country ordered an additional 1.5 million doses of Bvarian's IMVANEX vaccine.
GeoVax Labs GOVX shares are up a staggering 334.9% in the past month. The vaccine maker has said it is specifically evaluating the effectiveness of its GEO-CM04S1 vaccine against monkeypox.
Aethlon Medical, Inc. AEMD has claimed its lead product, the Aethlon Hemopurifier, has demonstrated effectiveness in treating a wide range of viruses and conditions, including COVID-19 and Monkeypox. The stock jumped 45.5% on Monday morning.
Moving forward, investors should closely monitor the four stocks above, as well as other stocks linked to vaccines, testing or treatment of monkeypox or other viruses. These five additional stocks have also witnessed an uptick in volatility in recent weeks:
- Inovio Pharmaceuticals Inc INO
- Tonix Pharmaceuticals Holding Corp TNXP
- Chimerix Inc CMRX
- Moderna Inc MRNA
- E-Home Household Service Holdings Ltd EJH
Benzinga's Take: It may be tempting to pile into these high-flying monkeypox-related stocks, especially after witnessing the huge moves in COVID-19-related stocks such as Moderna and BioNTech SE - ADR BNTX during the pandemic. Yet it's important to keep perspective on the potential financial impact of monkeypox relative to COVID-19. There are 22,485 confirmed global cases of monkeypox, and most cases are considered "mild." There have been more than 90.8 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the U.S. alone.
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