As the COVID-19 pandemic finally begins to wane, a new viral threat is beginning to surface. While it doesn’t have nearly the same severity, the outbreak of Monkeypox has been widespread enough for the Biden Administration to deem it a public health emergency. With more than 24,000 cases in 80 different countries, the World Health Organization is treating this as a serious outbreak. So what exactly is Monkeypox, and is it something to be concerned about?
Monkeypox, as the name suggests, is a strain of poxvirus related to others like smallpox or cowpox but surprisingly not related to chickenpox. The virus was discovered in 1958 and has been seen in the US. But rarely do the outbreaks ever reach the magnitude of this current Monkeypox outbreak in 2022.
While Monkeypox is rarely fatal, it has a familiar set of symptoms that include skin lesions and sores, fever, chills, swollen lymph nodes, fatigue, and muscle aches. The skin lesions have historically appeared on the victim’s arms and legs, but this current outbreak has seen the lesions appear on genitals and perianal regions. Monkeypox is spread through direct contact with lesions or through respiratory secretions of bodily fluids. Not surprisingly, sexual contact has been a focal point of the CDC, particularly between men.
Is There a Vaccine for Monkeypox?
Currently, there are a few different vaccine options that treat Monkeypox. In the United States, the two that have been granted use by the Center for Disease Control are Jynneos and the ACAM2000. It should be noted that both of these options are smallpox vaccines that have the same effects as Monkeypox. This means that there isn’t a dedicated Monkeypox vaccine on the market.
As we saw with the race for the COVID-19 vaccine, companies that come out on top see their stocks soar. Pfizer (NYSE:PFE) and Moderna (NASDAQ:MRNA) shareholders benefited when they released their respective vaccines. These secured billions of dollars in sales worldwide, with recurring revenues for boosters and alternative treatments for COVID-19.
Monkeypox Vaccine Stocks
Monkeypox will probably never get to the stage that the novel coronavirus did. But that doesn’t mean investors can’t speculate on which company will create a vaccine first. As cases of Monkeypox continue to rise around the US, so does the chatter about these stocks on social media. Which company will win the race for the Monkeypox vaccine? Let’s look at the 10 Monkeypoxx vaccine stocks that are running.
Siga Technologies (NASDAQ:SIGA)
Siga Technologies is a New York-based biotechnology company that produces drug treatment solutions for viruses like smallpox, cowpox, and monkeypox. Its TPOXX treatment is available as an injection and was provided with FDA approval in May. It has since received regulatory approvals in the UK and Europe to battle the monkeypox outbreak. Siga saw a massive spike in the last few days of July as the company announced some new orders for its TPOXX treatment. There was also a sharp decline after the FDA questioned its efficacy. Both events were captured using social media sentiment, as shown in the image below:
Geovax Labs (NASDAQ:GOVX)
Geovax is a nano-cap, clinical-stage biotech company that seeks to develop vaccines for rare diseases. The company is attempting to fill the demand for diseases and viruses with an unmet treatment supply. It utilizes technologies like recombinant DNA in its quest to produce cures and vaccines for things like cancer, HIV, COVID-19, and now monkeypox. Like most other companies, it uses a smallpox treatment to cure the fast-spreading virus. The CEO of Geovax Labs also publicly announced that its treatments would prevent the spread of monkeypox to humans. As a result, GOVX was one of the monkeypox stocks that saw a single-day surge of more than 90% over the past couple of weeks. Once again, GOVX was a trending ticker symbol on social media, and Chatterquant members were alerted before the moves.
Aethlon Medical, Inc (NASDAQ:AEMD)
Aethlon is another nano-cap biotech company seeking to produce treatments for the unmet needs of the health industry. The company’s primary product is the Aethlon Hemopurifier which augments the body’s natural immune defenses and has been used to treat everything from viruses to cancers. Aethlon notes that the Hempurifier is effective against numerous viral threats, specifically smallpox, dengue, and west Nile virus. Aethlon’s stock gained more than 60% over the last month, and it was trending on social media at the beginning of August.
Tonix Pharmaceutical Holdings Corp (NASDAQ:TNXP)
Tonix is a New Jersey-based biotechnology company that has focussed most of its work on repurposed drugs for the central nervous system. While this stock hasn’t seen much upward movement this year, it has had its share of surges, including a 45% gain during a session in late July. Tonix has a vaccine candidate in the pipeline called TNX-801, which prevents smallpox and monkeypox. It is working with the Kenya Medical Research Institute on this and should have a clinical Phase 1 study completed by the first half of 2023.
E-Home Household Services Holdings Ltd (NASDAQ:EJH)
Don’t get put off by the name of this company. While E-Home is a household services company in China, it recently acquired the Zhongrun (Fujian) Pharmaceutical Co. Through a late-July press release, E-Home stated that it would be pursuing a treatment for monkeypox through its new subsidiary. Be warned that even Zhongrun Pharmaceutical focuses on treatments using Chinese traditional medicine. Don’t expect this company’s treatment to gain much regulatory traction abroad.
Applied DNA (NASDAQ:APDN)
Applied DNA is an American biotechnology firm that saw its stock skyrocket from less than $1.00 to an all-time high price of $7.35. What was the news that sent APDN surging? The company announced that it is currently developing a PCR-based test for monkeypox. If successful, it will apply for approval from the New York State Department of Health. Applied DNA also took advantage of its elevated stock price and held a $12 million stock offering to raise capital. After gaining nearly 400% in a week, it’s easy to see why it landed on the trending tickers on social media.
Virax Biolabs Group Shares (NASDAQ:VRAX)
Virax Biolaps is a UK-based biotechnology company that recently saw its stock spike. Why did VRAX gain more than 120% during a single session? It announced it is also working on a PCR test for the monkeypox virus. The company just held its IPO at the end of July so it could also benefit from some fortuitous timing. Virax is another stock that shows you do not need to be investing in the vaccine to get exposure to monkeypox. At-home PCR-testing could be a better long-term way to play the viral breakout.
Bavarian Nordic A/S – ADR (OTCMKTS:BVNRY)
Bavarian Nordic is a Danish biotechnology company specializing in cancer immunotherapies and viral vaccines. It is the manufacturer of the previously mentioned JYNNEOS vaccine, which is one of two that are approved by the CDC in the United States. The stock has gained more than 90% over the past six months which is unusual for an OTC stock. Bavarian Nordic has been receiving orders from several markets including a further 2.5 million from the United States.
Chimerix, Inc (NASDAQ:CMRX)
Chimerix is a North Carolina-based biotechnology company that produced the world’s first FDA-approved antiviral for smallpox in all age groups. There is one problem though: Chimerix sold the rights for Tembexa to Emergent BioSolutions, Inc (NYSE:EBS). Chimerix retains a 20% royalty on gross profits from Tembexa, above 1.7 million doses. It’s not ideal, but Chimerix could still make decent revenues from a further US outbreak, considering the FDA-approved status.
Moderna became a household name following its globally-used COVID-19 vaccine. Now, with the monkeypox outbreak continuing to spread, Moderna is also feeling the pressure to create an mRNA vaccine for this virus. Considering its current status amongst vaccine producers, it would be widely accepted if Moderna were to get into the monkeypox industry. While nothing has been announced yet, the company touched on the subject last week. You can probably tell when this announcement was made given the social media sentiment surrounding the stock.
Are Monkeypox Stocks a Good Investment?
This likely won’t be realized until the true scope of the outbreak is known. Investors who are expecting a COVID-19-like pandemic might be disappointed. Monkeypox is making headlines right now but investing in these stocks is a bet on the continued spread of the outbreak. Governments could choose to stock up on vaccine candidates and PCR tests right now. Given how much traction these stocks are seeing on social media, they are certainly worth following for now!