Once the realisation broke through that the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak was a very big problem for the world, traders and investors would have started to think about stocks that might benefit.
For many, the obvious candidate would have been the nation’s biotech giant, CSL. But while CSL is one of the world's largest flu vaccine makers, and provider of anti-viral drugs such as Tamiflu, it is not directly involved: CSL said in February that it was offering expertise and facilities in the fight against the virus.
CSL said that coronavirus is quite different to influenza virus, so it is not a core area of focus for CSL or Seqirus (the company’s influenza vaccine business. “However, we have investigated possible adjacencies in expertise, technologies and facilities that might be able to contribute to the global effort and are pleased to advise that we have partnered with the University of Queensland’s COVID-19 vaccine development program,” said CSL. “We will provide technical expertise as well as a donation of Seqirus’ proprietary adjuvant technology, MF59®, to their pre-clinical development program. Adjuvants are used in vaccines to create a stronger immune response and to speed vaccine production and output. Seqirus’ adjuvant technology has a long history of use and a strong safety profile in both seasonal and pandemic influenza vaccines: the University of Queensland will use the adjuvant to test the viral protein it is developing with their molecular clamp technology.”