Issue

Can Robots STOP the Virus?

Covid-19 immunity

Scientists have worried that Covid-19 immunity may not be long lasting, but a new study delivers some good news.

Researchers from the La Jolla Institute for Immunology looked at the body’s Covid-19 immunity response. They studied 185 patients, ages 19 to 81, who had recovered from the virus.

The researchers not only tracked antibodies, but also B cells that can make more antibodies and two types of T cells that kill other infected cells as well.

The scientists found that antibodies did stick around. They only declined modestly six to eight months after infection, although the amount varied widely among the participants in Covid-19 immunity study.

T cells showed only a very slight and slow decay while B cells actually grew in number.

Researchers concluded that people would most likely be protected for a few years after infection. Of course, exactly how long the Covid-19 immunity lasts still anybody’s guess.

But seeing evidence that there is this kind of persistent, robust response naturally is very encouraging. The Covid-19 immunity research bodes well for the effectiveness of vaccines.

This Covid-19 immunity research is the most comprehensive, long-ranging study of immune memory on the coronavirus to date. But it hasn’t yet been published in a scientific journal or peer-reviewed.

The Big News

Pfizer Vaccine Even More Effective

Pfizer and BioNTech said they will submit their Covid-19 vaccine for U.S. and EU emergency approval “within days.” That comes after new data showed it was even more effective than previously reported. It was found to have an efficacy rate of 95%. Importantly, it was 94% effective in older adults. These people are more vulnerable to developing severe Covid-19 and often do not respond strongly to some types of vaccines.     

FDA Approves At-Home Rapid Covid Test

The FDA on Tuesday gave emergency approval to the first rapid coronavirus test that can be done at home. The test, developed by Lucira Health, requires a prescription from a healthcare provider. With a nasal swab, the test can return results in about half an hour. The company says it will cost $50 or less.           

Covid Can Cause Organ Damage

Younger patients with symptoms of Covid-19 showed signs of damage to multiple organs months after they were infected. The British Medical Journal reported the study Tuesday. It said that initial data from 201 patients suggest that almost 70% had “impairments in one or more organs four months after their initial symptoms of infection” by Sars-CoV-2. The subjects were relatively young – the median age was 44 – with no major underlying health problems.      

Robot Mask Enforcers

A robot is taking on a unique job in a store in Japan. It will ensure customers wear masks and practice social distancing to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Robovie, developed by Advanced Telecommunications Research Institute International, warns customers when it detects through a camera and 3D laser beam technology that they are not wearing masks or abiding by social distancing rules.                   

Sweden Tightens Covid Restrictions

Sweden had been pointed to as a model for avoiding lockdowns. Now Sweden is cracking down. Its cases per capita are currently 10 times higher than Finland and four times higher than Norway. Hospital admission rates were growing faster in Sweden than in any other European country. After several months of relatively low numbers of deaths, Sweden reported more than 100 deaths in three days last week.           

The Coronavirus Numbers

Here are the numbers from Wednesday at 8 a.m. ET from Johns Hopkins University:

  • 55,714,647 Infected Worldwide
  • 1,340,645 Deaths
  • 11,360,128 Infected in the U.S.
  • 248,707 Deaths in the U.S.

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What’s Next

Lockdown may be the word of the year, but rotation is the name of the game in November. But for how long?

Bank of America’s global fund manager survey is a bit worrying. The net percentage of respondents expecting a steeper yield curve is at levels similar to the most elevated extremes of recent years.

We saw this “reflation trade” in October 2008 (Lehmans), the 2013 “taper tantrum” and the November 2016 Trump election win. After each event, the yield curve did continue to steepen for a short time. But it was a false alarm, and the curve went back to its usual flattening pattern.

Another note of caution here: The percentage of respondents who think small caps will beat large caps is at the highest levels on record.

That means the rotation trade could become a very painful one if tech bounces. Investor positioning is clearly becoming a little crowded – everyone is on the same side of the “boat.” That has me questioning the duration of this rotation trade.

This is some positive news out there, though.

Results from the world’s largest shipping company, AP Moller-Maersk, are encouraging for the global economic recovery. It has now raised its guidance for the third time since the pandemic struck . . . and for the second time in two months! The company is benefiting from increased demand for physical goods over experiences.

One final note — Bitcoin prices continue to shoot to the moon. Bitcoin has now surged past $18,000. What I find interesting:  

This time, there is little hype around Bitcoin. That means this rally could be more long lasting.

The #1 biotech to buy now is going public. And shares could surge 454% after its huge IPO.

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Yours in Health & Wealth,

Tony Daltorio

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