If the history books 100 years from now were to look back on the novel coronavirus pandemic, they might view the vaccination struggles as mighty perplexing. Even though one of the crown achievements of the Trump administration was to deliver Covid-19 vaccines in record time, many aggressively rejected them. However, Vaxart (NASDAQ:VXRT) may be a shining light, particularly if recent momentum in VXRT stock is anything to go by.
Among the many reasons for vaccine hesitancy, a common argument is that the vaccines were rushed. What typically takes multiple years was suddenly being distributed in less than one year. For some folks, this was clear evidence of a nefarious undertaking, a biotech version of the classic “Paul is dead” conspiracy theory.
Or, as Nebraska Medicine pointed out, there might be an easier and more plausible explanation. Mainly, while work on novel vaccines for the SAR-CoV-2 virus appeared to materialize overnight, the reality was that epidemiologists were researching coronaviruses for 50 years. In addition, the mRNA technology that undergirds the leading Covid vaccines represented the culmination of over a decade of analysis.
And there’s another reason why vaccine hesitancy has been so prominent. However, in this case, the answer to the problem directly benefits VXRT stock.
As our own Louis Navellier noted, citing research from the New York Times, “About one in four adults and two out of three children have some fear of needles, and adults may find their fears too shameful to share. This is a substantial public health problem, because a body of research shows that around one in 10 adults are so afraid of needles that they will delay or avoid vaccinations.”
On paper, it’s a slam-dunk case for VXRT stock. The underlying company’s tablet-based Covid vaccine could help combat the global health crisis.
A Long Winter Helps VXRT Stock
As Navellier also pointed out, “Delaying or avoiding vaccination is prolonging the pandemic. Not all vaccine refusers are avoiding the shot because they fear needles. But a substantial number are. And with children under 12 the next big age group that remains to be vaccinated in the U.S., fear of needles is a serious issue.”
Again, it’s hard not to see the benefit to VXRT stock. While the vaccination rollout has been largely successful, the common similarity in these solutions is that they require intramuscular injections. Since many people, including most children, find them disagreeable, Vaxart provides a unique and critical alternative.
Of course, this circumstance points to a cynical catalyst for VXRT stock. If it weren’t for vaccine hesitancy, we probably wouldn’t be talking about Vaxart with as much enthusiasm as we do now. Navellier was blunt about the risks, noting that Vaxart produced underwhelming Phase 1 trial results that initially sank VXRT shares.
Essentially, the irony is that Vaxart is attempting to resolve the dilemma that’s giving relevance to VXRT stock in the first place.
That oddity aside, the vaccine specialist might continue to enjoy relevance the longer the Covid-19 disaster plays out, which again is another irony: more and sustained vaccine hesitancy is the perfect catalyst for VXRT.
For one thing, the longer Covid lingers, the more opportunities a tablet vaccine has to meet demand. Given the vitriolic nature of contemporary American politics, it’s unlikely that logic and reasoning will get folks to take the jab, whether that’s based in mRNA, subunit or viral-vector technology. But a tablet? That’s more palatable.
In addition, should the crisis worsen, the federal government could potentially distribute vaccine pills to people’s mailboxes, in light of the shortage of medical administrators.
A Compelling International Catalyst
Most importantly, VXRT stock enjoys an international catalyst. While we Americans are blessed with the latest in medical infrastructures, other nations aren’t so lucky. That’s one of the technical risks of injection-based vaccines. They often require extensive storage demands and they could injure people if administered incorrectly.
A pill? There’s not too much that could go wrong with that. Plus, distribution of tablets doesn’t impose nearly as much infrastructural demands.
However, for VXRT stock to be viable, much rides on the underlying clinical trials. While the oral approach is exceptionally enticing, if the vaccine itself isn’t effective, there’s really no point. But if Vaxart can achieve a baseline of efficacy, we could be talking about something special brewing here given Covid’s lingering nature.
No, I wouldn’t classify VXRT stock as a must buy. But it’s certainly something to think about seriously for the speculative side of your portfolio.
On the date of publication, Josh Enomoto did not have (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the InvestorPlace.com Publishing Guidelines.
A former senior business analyst for Sony Electronics, Josh Enomoto has helped broker major contracts with Fortune Global 500 companies. Over the past several years, he has delivered unique, critical insights for the investment markets, as well as various other industries including legal, construction management, and healthcare.