The origin of Covid-19 remains a scientific mystery.
The consensus had been that it likely originated somewhere near Wuhan, China. But it now looks like that was wrong.
The history of the pandemic is being reshaped at the moment. It’s all due to new research out of Italy.
Researchers have discovered new evidence. It suggests the pathogen had infected people across Italy as early as September last year. That was months before it was first identified in Wuhan.
The evidence was presented last week in a per-reviewed paper that appeared in Tumori Journal.
Researchers tested blood samples from lung cancer screening tests for nearly 1,000 people in Italy. They said they found antibodies specific to Sars-CoV-2.
These samples came from patients all over Italy in every month of a six-month trial that began in September 2019. No patients showed symptoms. All were asymptomatic.
The presence of the antibodies means that the virus was already infecting people months before Wuhan.
There is similar evidence from around the world. Institut Pasteur researchers in France found the viral strains circulating in their country were quite different from those in China.
And in Spain, Italy and Brazil, researchers identified the virus’ genes in sewage samples. These samples were dated months before the disease was named as a pandemic.
These findings actually makes sense scientifically.
National Institutes of Health (NIH) director Francis Collins said the virus could have been spreading quietly in humans for a long time. That is based on its current adaptation to human cells.
The virus truly is a silent enemy.
The Big News
This Is What Exponential Growth Looks Like
Despite the positive vaccine news, there is still plenty of cause for concern. The U.S. is averaging 150,000 new cases a day, surpassing 11 million total cases. Sometime this week, I expect to tell you that 250,000 Americans have died from the virus. Cases are surging in 48 states. Surging hospitalizations and deaths will follow.
Amazon launched an online delivery service for prescription medicine in the U.S. This is a direct challenge to retailers such as Walgreens and CVS Health. Amazon Pharmacy will offer discounts of up to 80% on generic drugs for Prime subscribers paying without insurance. It is also offering discounts of up to 40% on branded medicines.
Walmart Gets Pandemic Boost
Walmart pulled further away from rivals as shoppers turn to its superstores for household goods during the pandemic. Its food business benefited as consumers have been less willing to visit restaurants and cooked more often at home. But shoppers have also turned to Walmart for electronics, clothing and other general merchandise. Overall sales in the third quarter rose 5.2%.
The home-rental giant Airbnb filed its offering prospectus yesterday. The filing revealed effects of the pandemic. Revenue in the first nine months of 2020 fell 32% to $2.5 billion. Net losses doubled, to $697 million. And – like many other tech companies — Airbnb has created multiple classes of stock that give its founders disproportionate control.
Hydroxychloroquine Guru in Trouble
French microbiologist Didier Raoult gained worldwide prominence in the spring. His controversial research touted the effects of hydroxychloroquine to treat Covid-19. But now, he must appear before a disciplinary panel. Physicians from France’s Infectious Diseases Society accused him of breaching medical ethics..
The Coronavirus Numbers
Here are the numbers from Tuesday at 8 a.m. ET from Johns Hopkins University:
- 54,495,858 Infected Worldwide
- 1,318,884 Deaths
- 11,038,998 Infected in the U.S.
- 246,224 Deaths in the U.S.
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Warren Buffett is placing a big bet on healthcare and top biotech stocks.
His Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE: BRK.A or BRK.B) said on Monday it has begun investing in the stocks of four large drug makers.
In a regulatory filing, Berkshire disclosed $5.7 billion of new investment in top biotech stocks. These included more than $1.8 billion each in AbbVie (NYSE: ABBV), Bristol-Myers Squibb (NYSE: BMY), Merck (NYSE: MRK) and $136 million in Pfizer (NYSE: PFE).
It looks like Buffett’s move into top biotech stocks reflects a belief the pandemic has changed the industry permanently . . . and that it will be perhaps the most important industry, even in a post-pandemic world.
Maybe I’m just putting my thoughts in what I believe Buffett is saying.
As I’ve said before, healthcare is my favorite industry to invest my money. And is even far ahead of tech (mainly because of valuation), in my view.
I see demand for all segments of healthcare increasing as the global population ages.
The #1 biotech to buy now is going public. And shares could surge 454% after its huge IPO.
Yours in Health & Wealth,