4 Top Healthcare Stocks to Watch For After Merck’s COVID-19 Pill Breakthrough

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4 Top Healthcare Stocks to Consider [Or Selling] In this week

Health stocks were some of the hottest stocks to buy in the US Stock market in recent years. Well, the global pandemic has certainly reminded us of how fragile life can be. On Friday, global deaths related to COVID-19 passed the 5 million mark, according to a Reuters tally. The virus is constantly evolving as we develop vaccines and other potential treatment options. In fact, it took over a year for the death toll to hit 2.5 million, but the next 2.5 million deaths were recorded in just under eight months. Therefore, vaccination alone is not enough and other treatment options will be necessary in the long run.

Hence the announcement of Merck & Co. (NYSE: MRK) and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics on their new drug was well received by investors. It appears that the drug may reduce the risk of hospitalization or death in patients with mild or moderate cases of COVID-19 by about 50%. Overall, additional treatment options would be a big welcome to our arsenal against the coronavirus. However, this does not mean that vaccinations are no longer important. Vaccines from companies like Modern (NASDAQ: MRNA) and AstraZeneca (NASDAQ: AZN) will continue to play a central role in eradicating the virus. With that in mind, here is a list of the Top stocks in healthcare watch on the stock market today.

The Best Health Stocks To Watch For This Week

Atea Pharma

First, let’s look at each other Atea Pharma. The clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company specializes in antiviral therapeutics to improve the lives of patients with life-threatening viral infections. Its purine nucleotide prodrug platform develops treatments for diseases caused by single-stranded ribonucleic acid virus infections. Because of this, Atea would often be on investors’ radar as we experience what is arguably the worst virus pandemic the world has ever seen.

If you’ve been following Atea, you know the lead product candidate is AT-527. The drug is an orally administered antiviral agent used to treat patients with COVID-19. It works by inhibiting viral replication by disrupting viral RNA polymerase. This is a key component in the replication machinery of enveloped positive single-stranded RNA viruses.

The ATEA share naturally benefited from the convincing results of Merck & Co.’s interim analysis. Investors seem optimistic that Atea can build on the same success with its AT-527. Well, AVIR stock was up nearly 30% just last week. Do you think this upward trend will continue? If so, would you consider adding AVIR stocks to your portfolio?

Source: TD Ameritrade TOS

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UnitedHealth Group

Next up we have one of the largest healthcare companies in the world, UnitedHealth. The company generally conducts its business through two business platforms, UnitedHealthcare and Optum. With its vast portfolio of health products and services, UNH stock has often topped many investors’ watch lists. It has risen by more than 10% since the beginning of the year.

Last week, the company unveiled its Medicare Advantage (MA) plans for 2022 and prescription drugs. It provides expanded access to differentiated value plans while delivering an unparalleled member experience. UnitedHealth is already the leader in the MA market and has enrolled more than 7.3 million people on its MA plans. This step forward shows us that the company wants to consolidate its leading position in a growing MA market.

Under the announced plan, 90% of eligible consumers will have access to pharmacy benefits with $ 0 Tier 1 retail co-payments. In addition, 98% of members will receive stable or improved benefits over the next year and most members will receive stable or reduced MA awards. In fact, nearly 3 million members have a $ 0 premium. Certainly, investors would likely appreciate companies that have a structured plan in front of them while maintaining transparency. All in all, would you watch UNH stock?

UNH share chartSource: TD Ameritrade TOS

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Pfizer

Another top healthcare stock that many are familiar with is Pfizer. In detail, it is a global healthcare company that develops and produces drugs and vaccines for immunology, oncology, cardiology and neurology. Some investors may have noticed that many of their vaccine competitors suffered setbacks, but PFE stock was largely unaffected.

Pfizer is another company researching oral antiviral drugs to fight COVID-19 infections. In fact, the company announced last Monday that it had started a large study testing its investigational oral antiviral drug. The study will take part in 2,660 healthy adult participants aged 18 and over who live in the same household as symptomatically infected COVID-19 patients. Should this drug prove to be a success, it would be another avenue for the company to maintain its success over the long term.

In addition, the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare has approved the company’s CIBINQO (abrocitinib) for the treatment of moderate to severe atopic dermatitis. Applications for the drug have also been submitted for review in other countries around the world. These include the United States, Australia, and the European Union. Given these considerations, do you think PFE stock will have more leeway?

PFE share chartSource: TD Ameritrade TOS

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Gilead Sciences

To sum up the list, we have the biopharmaceutical company, Gilead Sciences. The company mainly focuses on the further development of drugs for the prevention and treatment of diseases. The portfolio of products and pipeline investigational drugs includes treatments for HIV, COVID-19, liver disease, hematology / oncology / cell therapy and other diseases. The company’s Veklury (Remdesivir) is currently the only drug to have received FDA approval for the treatment of COVID-19 in the United States

Not to mention, the company announced last week that the US FDA had approved Gilead’s subsidiary Kite’s Tecartus (Brexucabtagene Autoleucel) for the treatment of relapsed or refractory acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) from B-cell precursors Has. This will be the first and only T-cell therapy with chimeric antigen receptors (CAR) approved for adults with ALL. This is a huge milestone for the company and for the treatment of ALL as a whole, as there remains a high unmet need for the disease.

Half of the patients will relapse, and the median overall survival with the current standard of care is only about eight months. It is noteworthy that this kites’s fourth FDA-cleared cell therapy indication in less than four years. This shows us the company’s commitment to advancing its treatments for patients with a wide variety of hematologic malignancies. With this in mind, would you consider investing in GILD shares?

GILD share chartSource: TD Ameritrade TOS

The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.


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