I got the VID, man. Hence my Real Money column is earlier than usual this week. Trust me, you don't want this. Somehow I managed to transit to and from "COVID catastrophe" Brazil three times in four months and come away scot free (with negative RT-PCR test results to prove it) and then get smacked in the head with Corona when I returned to NYC. My head is pounding and it only stops when I take the CDC-approved, doctor-recommended treatment for this: Yes, Advil. Magic!
As the JHU-COVID global counter passes 131 million, I am not going to go on another rant (hopefully RM's editors will insert a link here to my prior RM column that references this topic, my head hurts too much to Google it) about how we, as a society, should be spending as much time on developing COVID THERAPEUTICS as we are on developing COVID vaccines. I don't have the energy.
So, as New York fumbles toward... well everything... my COVID vaccine eligibility actually began about a week before my symptoms began. Assuming some incubation time before I became symptomatic... it was a damn close thing... Argh! Maybe I could have stopped it, but NYC is giving the Pfizer (PFE) , Moderna (MRNA) and Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) vaccines - with an emphasis on the first two, which require two shots. Two-shot formulations are not fully efficacious until the second shot is given.
I am just not going to kill myself trying to figure out what might have been. I have it. I have notified those I interacted with last week, and I am now quarantining far from home... which really sucks. I am thinking of writing a country song called "I Tested Positive For Sadness".
This thing is NOT going away. My head hurts too much now to listen to those who go on CNBC and bloviate about last Friday's jobs report and re-opening plays. For once, I don't care. People are going to continue to get COVID, as the world enters what is now being labeled "a fourth wave". So, what does that mean?
Vaccine science is going to matter. I am in the position now, where, after building up a strong supply of antibodies, presumably, I can pick and choose the vaccine I want. If I lived in a less-horribly-run state (or one run by a less horrible person, even) maybe I would already...nope, I promised I wouldn't play the speculation game. I will let this thing clear through me and then I can shop around for the best vax.
Sputnik V is the early leader in the vaccine efficacy clubhouse, and I might be able to get my hands on some in Brazil....but, no, let's stick with science and avoid geopolitics. BioNTech (BNTX) (in conjunction with Pfizer) and Moderna have messenger RNA-based vaxes approved by the FDA. JNJ/Janssen and AstraZeneca both have viral-vector based vaxes, although AZN's shot is still not approved for use here in the States.
In a previous column, here, I bemoaned the horrible performance of AZN management throughout this whole process and there have been more bad news items over the past week. JNJ hasn't had those "bad facts," but has had some issues with third-party contract manufacturer Emergent. So...damn it....I am going with mRNA. If you are a science nerd feel free to PM me with technical details. That's my story and I am sticking to it.
I do have someone to look after (who has done a great job looking after me the last few days - I am not a pleasant patient) and she will be vaxxed, at least initially, as soon as humanly possible. If I have to give the jab myself. But for me, I am going to continue to collect information.
I still think the best of all worlds is an mRNA formulation (so, that exes out AZN and JNJ) that requires only a single shot (so that exes out the mRNA formulations from Pfizer and Moderna) and that leaves a great candidate from Arcturus Therapeutics (ARCT) . I have mentioned ARCT in several prior RM columns. ARCT has a COVID-19 vaccine candidate in Phase 3 trials now.
ARCT stock has had a substantial pullback of late, and it may seem they are terminally late to the party, with so many other vaccines having gained governmental approval around the world. My own personal experience has to prove one thing, though: It's not too late. There will be more cases.
Also, there is no way on earth for anyone to know how long these vaccines remain efficacious. The potential for re-dosing of the already-vaccinated is a topic that has been discussed by Fauci and von der Leyen, and other competent scientists, as well.
Today I will buy some more ARCT for my personal account, and sleep a lot. RM's crack market analysts like Carley Garner and the Rev Shark can give you the buzz on any intraday moves in today's market, but I probably won't see them. I will be dreaming about chicken soup.