Flu pandemic: too much panic or cause for concern? - update
The Mexican swine flu is turning into a panic. The fear for a pandemic is real, and the US has issued a national health alert.
Stock markets in Asia have reacted negativelythis morning on the news. It brings back memories of the 2002-2003 SARS panic. This near-pandemic was especially dangerous in China. But massive prevention measures limited the impact, and the pandemic never materialized on a global scale.
Roche, producer of Tamiflu, will probably have a more positive day than the other stocks.
Update:it appears that the current Tamiflu vaccin is not protecting against this 'swine flu' virus mutation. This means that new vaccins will have to be produced.
Three preliminary conclusions on this pandemic threat:
1. The world economy is already very sick, and new headwinds are really the last thing it needs.
2. On the other hand, the economic consequences of SARS worldwide were overestimated. The total number of victims amounted to around 1,000 - much less than feared. Mass implemented protection and prevention helped a lot. Don't forget that such things are even more difficult in China than in other countries.
3. Pandemic fears have been around for some while, and scientists have warned for this risk. Given increased travel and the globalisation, such local problems are indeed becoming very quickly global issues ...