Bird Flu Stocks - Is the Opportunity Real?

By: jarberman
Everyone seems to be talking about the Avian Flu, otherwise known as the H5N1 virus. We believe the virus and danger is real, but are the investment opporunities for real?

Watching the public market clamor for "Bird Flu Stocks" reminds us of the "Internet Stock" bubble.

We challenge investors to carefully think about whether the bird flu is a great threat or just a great media story. With all the media coverage, would you be surprised to learn that in the entire world, the virus has only infected a total of 194 people and killed a total of 110 people?

The current strain of the virus is not spread among humans. Every person previously infected with the virus had direct contact with sick birds (mainly chickens). However, experts seem to agree that if the virus mutates into a contagious form, it is possible that it will kill millions of people.

Big problems always present tremendous investment opportunities. Investors in companies who develop the products and services that truly solve any large problem can make millions. In anticipation of large profits, it should come as no surprise that many investors have driven the market value of "bird flu stocks" to very high levels. The combined market value of these stocks now exceeds several billion dollars. Investors are assuming these companies will generate large profits.

Well, what if investors are wrong? What if the fancy solutions being touted by many of the bird flu stocks are not as important as we are led to believe?

Recently, a company in England announced that initial tests prove that a simple hand spray (which is already sold in major department stores) is more than 99.8% efficient in killing H5N1. The product was originally developed several years ago to prevent the spread of certain germs and is entirely safe for use by humans.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, avoiding close contact with others, covering your mouth and nose, cleaning your hands and avoiding to touch your eyes, nose or mouth - are the primary ways to prevent getting germs.

When you take a step back from all the hype, the reality is that simply wearing a medical mask and washing hands frequently, will virtually assure that a person will not get infected.

Sometimes, the simple answers provide the best solutions. If medical masks and soap are the most effective defense, what becomes of all these "bird flu stocks"?
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