U.S. Issues Public Health Emergency About Swine Flu

April 27, 2009 12:23 AM EDT
On Sunday, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service issued a nationwide public health emergency about the swine flu after outbreaks around the world and here in the U.S.

To date, there have been 20 confirmed cases of swine flu in California, Texas, Kansas, New York, and Ohio. No deaths in the U.S. have been reported due to the illness. Additional cases of the virus have been confirmed in Mexico and Canada. In Mexico, swine flu is the suspected cause of 86 deaths and more than 1,300 illnesses.

Swine flu is a respiratory disease of pigs caused by type A influenza that regularly causes outbreaks of influenza among pigs. Swine flu viruses do not normally infect humans; however, human infections with swine flu do occur, and cases of human-to-human spread of swine flu viruses have been documented.

According to reports, although swine flu vaccines are thought to be inadequate, Gilead Sciences' (Nasdaq: GILD) and Roche's Tamiflu and Biota's Relenza, licensed to GlaxoSmithKline (NYSE: GSK), is having a positive response against the illness said the World Health Organization.

Stock traders would have to expect that the pandemic potential of the swine flu outbreak could drive other speculative stocks higher. Here is a list of stocks that were running with the bird flu outbreaks a few years ago. It could be a good place to start looking: BioCryst Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: BCRX), Novavax Inc. (NASDAQ: NVAX), AVI Biopharma Inc. (Nasdaq: AVII), Crucell NV (Nasdaq: CRXL), Hemispherx Biopharma, Inc. (AMEX: HEB), Quidel Corporation (Nasdaq: QDEL), Generex Biotechnology Corporation (Nasdaq: GNBT), Peregrine Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq: PPHM), Combimatrix (Nasdaq: CBMX), Quigley Corp. (Nasdaq: QGLY), Celldex (Nasdaq: CLDX), Luminex Corporation (Nasdaq: LMNX), CEL-SCI Corp. (AMEX: CVM), Alnylam Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: ALNY), Vical (Nasdaq: VICL).

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