NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- The Ebola outbreak in West Africa is a public health emergency which has also captured the attention of U.S. investors (perhaps I should say traders) eager for opportunities to buy into the stocks of companies with promising treatments. From a stocks perspective, it's been a bit disappointing that a private company, Mapp Pharmaceuticals, has stolen the Ebola trading thunder with its experimental treatment being used on healthcare workers infected with the virus. But publicly traded drug companies haven't been entirely shut out of the Ebola treatment conversation, with Tekmira Pharmaceuticals (TKMR) , BioCryst Pharmaceuticals (BCRX) , Sarepta Therapeutics (SRPT) , NewLink Genetics NLNK and even Hemispherx Biopharma (HEB) all in the mix.
Outside of Mapp Pharma, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) is probably the most significant, emerging player in the race to find an effective Ebola treatment. The pharmaceutical giant is joining forces with government agencies to jointly develop a vaccine against the deadly virus.
[An update on the condition of Dr. Rick Sacra, infected with Ebola while treating patients in West Africa, is expected later today, including the first disclosure of which experimental drug he's being treated with.]
Investor or traders focused on Ebola may not be interested in the all the details of the outbreak, but everyone should listen to the This Week in Virology episode dedicated to the subject. These experts do a much better job at dispelling many of the myths around the Ebola outbreak than I could ever hope to accomplish in an article. Most importantly for an investor audience, they provide critical context about the economics of potential Ebola treatments.