Email of the day on COVID-19 from Dr. David Brown
Comment of the Day

March 02 2020

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Email of the day on COVID-19 from Dr. David Brown


It's been a huge advantage for me as an investor in recent weeks that I also understand viruses very well. At one time in my career I led a viral disease research centre with 320 scientists and support staff. That was BSL3 level containment (HIV, HCV, Influenza etc). BSL4 required for coronavirus is a different game altogether. It worries me that the outbreak of COVID-19 started in Wuhan and only 300 yards from the 1st BSL4 lab in China that opened only 2 years ago. What a coincidence!

I am now doing different research (on rare genetic diseases) through my startup company Healx Ltd. Three weeks ago, I gave a presentation to staff about the virus for their own safety and for continued operation of the company if an outbreak occurs here in Cambridge. They may have thought I was exaggerating at the time. Today, things have escalated even more rapidly than I expected back then. However, we have planned for home working, and stocked up on all necessary supplies in the company. We have done the same at home too, though my wife also thought I was going a bit too far! I hope she is right, but it's better to be prepared for the worst while hoping for the best. 

Eoin Treacy's view

Thank you for this informative and cautionary email. Also, congratulations on taking your opportunities in the market. The threat from the coronavirus is concentrated among older individuals with the median mortality age in the region of 75. That is cause for anyone within 25 years of that number taking extraordinary measures to avoid infection and everyone else should also take precautions to avoid passing it along to the most at risk individuals. The number of people who have recovered from the virus continues to rise in China but a serious infection would knock someone out for what could potentially be months, assuming they survive.

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