With the current rush of news about the swine flu virus morphing into more aggressive lung-shredding and tamiflu-resistant mutants, there is some confusion as to why these changes are being seen in people in "hotspots" around the world, with no clear connection to each other. Officials at the WHO and CDC suggest that the same mutations are arising spontaneously in multiple locations but this doesn’t quite make sense. To better understand how changes in the swine flu virus may be occurring, I contacted Dr. Henry L. Niman, founder and president of Recombinomics. Dr. Niman has been an active researcher in the evolution of flu virus. His latest thoughts on the ongoing progression of the flu pandemic may be found at his website, Recombinomics.
For a little background, the D222G mutation or D225G mutation (same mutation, different numbering system) was found in three cases in Norway ("Norway" mutation), and in other countries, including Brazil, China, Japan, Mexico, Ukraine, the United States, and more recently Hong Kong. The change in a single nucleotide results in an amino acid change in the virus’s receptor binding protein. This has the effect of allowing the virus to bind receptors in the lung tissue, rather than the more usual binding to cells in the upper airways. Theoretically, this may confer greater virulence to the virus, potentially leading to more severe disease as the infection invades deeper in the respiratory tract. This change was also seen in the 1918 flu pandemic, in some (but not all) cases.
The name of Dr. Niman’s company "Recombinomics" is taken from the word "recombine" or "recombination" – the driver of rapid molecular evolution and the emergence of infectious agents. Recombination* is a mechanism whereby small bits of genetic information pass between viruses so that a virus may quickly acquire a genetic change that evolved previously over the years in other viruses. Recombination is similar to reassortment, but with less genetic material being exchanged.
Sporadic mutations do not usually lead to successful adaptive changes – often they have no effect or prove to be non-adaptive, with the mutation failing to be further replicated. In contrast, recombination allows viruses to quickly alter their characteristics by acquiring genetic material that already exists in the viral reservoir (i.e., the pool of viruses circulating in a population). This…
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Several popular U.S. stock index's are at or near all time highs. Of late the Russell 2000 just broke above a 15-year resistance line. Now we will soon see if the Dow, NDX, NYSE and Wilshire 5000 follow suit.
"US retail as we have known it for hundreds of years is in sharp decline," warns Bloomberg Brief's Rich Yamarone, adding that "market participants should take note of the fallout in a sputtering US economy." The retail apocalypse, as we discussed here, is dominated by mass layoffs, weak traffic, and poor wage growth and, as Yamarone highlights, it's not hard to see why...
The EPI had an interesting chart and comments in its report The Vast Majority of the 5.8 Million Missing Workers Are Under Age 55. Since the start of the Great Recession over six years ago, labor force participation has dropped significantly. Most of the drop—roughly three-quarters—was due to the lack of job opportunities in the Great Recession and its aftermath. There are now 5.8 million workers who are not in the labor force but who would be if job opportunities were strong.
It is possible that some of these missing workers who are at or near retirement age have given up hope of...
Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals (OTC: BAYRY) and Onyx Pharmaceuticals, Inc., an Amgen subsidiary (Nasdaq: AMGN), today announced that a Phase 3 trial evaluating the investigational use of NEXAVAR® (sorafenib) tablets as an adjuvant treatment for patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), or liver cancer, who had no detectable disease after surgical resection or local ablation, did not meet its primary endpoint of improving recurrence-free survival. The safety findings were consistent with the known profile of sorafenib. Data from this study will be submitted for presentation at an upcoming scientific congress.
"While the primary endpoint of this adjuvant trial was not met, Bayer and Onyx remain de...
Today was the beginning of “spring break” for the market. At least it seemed that way with a very low trading volume of only 600M shares on the NYSE. Either the college crowd does more trading than we imagined or parents are taking the week off as well.
The market barely woke up for the session with the S&P 500 down 0.05% and the NASDAQ down 0.03%. However, the DJI must have gotten extra sleep this weekend as it was up 0.21%. Small caps took a bigger hit with the Russell 2000 dropping nearly 0.50% percent. There was nothing major in the news other than a disappointing trading figure from China. Indeed, the whole week will only include a meager four major economic reports with Wholesale Inventories tomorrow, Retail Sales and Jobless Claims on Thursday, and Producer Price In...
The dramatic moves in fuel cell related stocks continues this week, with shares in Plug Power (Ticker: PLUG), FuelCell Energy (Ticker: FCEL) and Ballard Power Systems (Ticker: BLDP) beginning the trading week with explosive gains ahead of FuelCell Energy’s first-quarter earnings report after the closing bell, and following on the heels of a large order from Walmart for Plug Power, which the company confirmed in a press release on February 26th.
Shares in PLUG rose as much as 38% to touch $11.41 this afternoon, marking a near 150% move to the upside in the price of the underlying since Monday morning of last week when the stock opened at $4.60....
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Ladies and Gentlemen, hobos and tramps,
Cross-eyed mosquitoes, and Bow-legged ants,
I come before you, To stand behind you,
To tell you something, I know nothing about.
And so the circus begins in Union Square, San Francisco for this weeks JP Morgan Healthcare Conference. Will the momentum from 2013, which carried the S&P Spider Biotech ETF to all time highs, carry on in 2014? The Biotech ETF beat the S&P by better than 3 points.
As I noted in my previous post, Biotechs Galore - IPOs and More, biotechs were rushing to IPOs so that venture capitalists could unwind their holdings (funds are usually 5-7 years), as well as take advantage of the opportune moment...
Welcome to the fouth update of the IRA Virtual Portfolio. First I am going to summarize the current state of the Portfolio then I will get into all the activity we had during September expiration.
Profit and Loss – Net of closed positions the portfolio is up a total of $769
Market Commentary – Last expiration I said, "I would like to put a total of $20,000 to work by the end of SEP expiration. If the VIX pops up to around 20 I plan to put about $50,000 total to work." The market didn't quite reach the goal but I did manage to deploy $15,000 of buying power. I still feel the market is too high and expect a correction during October. If the vix pops up to around 20 I still plan to put about $50,000 to work. If a correction doesn't happen I still plan to have a total of $25,000 in buying power put to work by October expiration. Now on to the act...
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