Earlier this year, The World Health Assembly, The World Health Organization’s (WHO) governing body, met to discuss contingency plans in the case of a flu pandemic sweeping the globe.
China’s recent troubles with the Avian Influenza, a subtype of what we know as “the Flu” have been putting health experts on the edge of their seats, wondering what’s coming next.
“[Avian Influenza] has the potential to trigger the next pandemic, which, judging from history, is well overdue,” writes Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
The WHO estimates that if a pandemic were to strike, about 30 million people would end up in hospital and as many as 7.5 million would die within only a few month’s time.
If you’re wondering how this topic fits into the scope of PROFIT CONFIDENTIAL, keep reading…
Michael Osterholm of the University of Minnesota’s Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy made the following strong argument for nations around the world to start planning for a global flu outbreak:
“Even if a country had access to a protective pandemic vaccine… its economy is going to crash,” he says. “We will see major shortages in products that mean life and death.”
Looking at history, he’s right:
— During the 1918-1919 Spanish Flu pandemic, the U.S. was in a recession
— During the 1957-1958 Asian Flu outbreak U.S. economic growth stalled
— After the 1968-1969 Hong Kong Flu killed 34,000 Americans, another recession hit the U.S.
A flu pandemic would bring with it a real estate crash, an insurance industry crash, airline halts, world transportation freezes, and, ultimately, complete economic panic.
Investors are starting to get worried too. Yesterday, BMO Nesbitt Burns, a major Canadian investment dealer, spoke up to say that it too is worried about the financial repercussions of a new flu outbreak.
I only hope our economic leaders are listening. Considering the already fragile state of the world economy, it’s high time our leaders really start putting a plan in action to prevent the economic catastrophe that a new flu pandemic would bring.
For speculators out there, now might be a good time to invest in drug development companies that are working on Avian Flu vaccines.