Two months ago we speculated about cutting edge drugs from plants and asked if tobacco could cure Ebola. That was when an experimental drug grown in tobacco plants was used to treat a person infected with the Ebola virus. Three months ago we speculated about the potential economic devastation of the Ebola virus. We speculated then and we speculate now about Ebola related investments. That was before the number of cases passed 500 and the number of deaths passed 300. It was before a Liberian national lied about exposure to the disease and entered the USA where he subsequently died and infected at least one of the health care workers who attended him in the hospital. Here is a general snapshot of the growth of the disease in Western Africa. A handful of patients have been transferred to Europe and the USA and one health care worker in the USA has contracted the disease from a patient. Otherwise the Ebola virus is limited to the West African nations of Liberia, Guinea, Senegal, Sierra Leon and Nigeria.
|Month||Cumulative Cases||Cumulative Deaths|
Practical Approaches versus a Needle in the Haystack Investment Approach Long Shot Ebola Related Investments Let us look at the possibility of a drug coming on the market in the very near future to vaccinate against or successfully treat Ebola. In our article about cutting edge drugs we noted that the researchers exhausted their supply of medicine in treating a couple of patients. The drug in this case is grown in tobacco leaves and another crop needs to be planted, genetically engineered to produce the medicine. And then there is the issue of which drug, if any, will be successful. And the issue of how much can be produced and if said drug will pass FDA testing. To the extent that one wants to look for long shot Ebola related investments investing in experimental drugs might be the way to go. However, once the several thousand folks who have the disease have been treated then it may be years before another outbreak. A vaccine would be different because it would come into common use in parts of Africa where the disease is endemic. Practical Ebola Related Investments The old saying from the California gold rush days was that when everyone was digging for gold one should go into business selling picks and shovels. Today the picks and shovels of treating Ebola are soap and water, chlorine bleach, disposable plastic bags, surgical masks, and the biohazard gear which is the ideal form of dress for anyone in contact with an Ebola patient. The maker of hazmat suits, Lakeland Industries (LAKE) has seen its stock go up 50 percent in October. However, the company is not profitable due to money lost in a Brazilian subsidiary. Nevertheless, this is a practical approach to Ebola related investments. As always fundamental analysis of the situation and potentially profitable stocks is the preferred investment route.