Pro Perspectives 3/26/20

March 26, 2020

Stocks continue to rally as the U.S. government and the Fed have followed through on the promise to do "whatever it takes" to ensure the solvency and liquidity to keep banks, companies, small business and individuals whole, through this economic disruption.

With those actions, the bridge is in place to fill the void (for the most part) in the economy, temporarily.  "Temporary" is the assumption everyone has to make, because the alternative is armageddon-esque.

Among the many scenarios that can make it temporary, the best-case scenario is an effective treatment for the virus.  Even better, a prophylaxis.

On that note, as of Tuesday of this week, the FDA approved the "off-label" use of chloroquine (and hydroxychloroquine) for treatment of Covid-19 — i.e. doctors around the country can now prescribe it.  And as of Tuesday, New York City, the current hot spot of the virus, has been using it, and tracking results in a clinical trial.   

There have been a couple of trials that have made the rounds in the media in recent weeks on Chloroquine, notably one in China and one in France.  Both showed efficacy (but not trials that meet FDA standards).  And there is an "in vitro" study from Chinese researchers in early February that showed the stop of progression of the virus in cells that were already infected, and showed the prevention of infection in pre-virus cells.  

With that, by early next week, maybe Monday, we should start hearing stories coming out of New York about the efficacy of this drug. If we hear success stories, people virus free, it would put a floor under sentiment.  It would establish a viable path to a return to normalcy.  And that would take the worst-case scenario off of the table.  That would be a turning point in this crisis.  

If so, we would have a path to resolution (at least treatment as a bridge until a vaccine comes to market).  And for markets, that would come simultaneously with a tsunami of stimulus. 


We will see.  Bottom line:  We should keep an eye out for any reports coming out of New York over the weekend.