Pictet Sees 80% Chance of Virus Vaccine Coming Before Year-End

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(Bloomberg) -- One of Europe’s most-recognized asset managers is betting that a vaccine for the coronavirus will arrive this year, a key development that could presage a recovery for the global economy.

“Our central scenario today is that with 80% probability there will be a vaccine by year-end by the likes of Pfizer or someone like that,” Cesar Perez Ruiz, Pictet Wealth Management’s chief investment officer, said on a conference call. It will probably be made available to those who are most at risk of the virus, and then rolled out to everybody by the summer of next year, he added.

The company’s base case is for the global economy to bounce back nearly 6% next year, after shrinking around 4% this year. Pictet’s asset management arm has boosted holdings of stocks in Europe, Japan and Greater China, as part of an overall stronger outlook for growth.

The timing is tight, considering medicine’s quickest previous vaccine took four years to be developed. But Ruiz said the global effort behind finding one for the coronavirus would likely mean the process will be swift.

“We’re putting the whole intellect of the world at work to get that shortened as much as possible,” said Ruiz, who helps oversee Pictet Wealth Management’s 218 billion Swiss francs ($230 billion) in assets under management.

There are currently more than 130 vaccines under development globally, with the number of treatments around the same. Pictet’s confidence chimes with the view put forward by the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, which is funding nine different coronavirus vaccine projects.

Others say it could take much longer, and the top U.S. infectious disease specialist, Anthony Fauci, called the coronavirus pandemic his “worst nightmare,” warning that the deadly outbreak is far from over.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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