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Due to the VUI strain, will there be another rise in precious metal investments?

Though there have been many coronavirus mutations observed since the beginning of the pandemic, one has caught the attention of virologists around the world. VUI, a new variant first detected in London this December, is said to be 70% more contagious than COVID-19—a virus already known for how contagious it is. The variant was first associated with 10-15 percent of cases a few weeks ago but quickly jumped to 60% in London last week.

 
From a genetic analysis of VUI-202012/01, the variant showed at least 17 mutations. Some of the mutations are in the genome instructions for the spike protein around the virus that allows it to bind to human cells in order to infect them. The current vaccines for COVID-19 have been created to teach the immune system to make antibodies that recognize these spike proteins so the mutation may affect vaccine effectiveness. One of the other major concerns regarding this variant is the possibility that it may bypass other treatments such as ‘convalescent serum’.

 

So why is this variant something we shouldn’t ignore? Recently stock markets showed signs of recovery with the announcement of the new coronavirus vaccine. However, a more contagious variant that has a spike protein that allows it to bypass both the current vaccine and convalescent serum treatments would mean we would be starting from square one. Biden will also take office on January 20th, with promises of a more aggressive approach to dealing with the pandemic. In addition to a possible lockdown, Biden has also promised more stimulus to help the American people survive the economic fall out of the pandemic. Another lockdown would mean more damage to a market that is already struggling to survive. Unemployment is still at a high, with many more would likely join the millions currently receiving unemployment benefits.

 

What investors can do now, is to act quickly to be ahead of the curve. Diversifying their portfolios with assets that don’t rely on stock market performance will act as a form of insurance. Even without the threat of VUI-202012/01, the markets have been artificially inflated with low interest rates for corporations to buy back their own stocks. The stimulus efforts have required more printing and use of money the government doesn’t have. With every dollar that is printed, the U.S. currency is devalued. Precious metals have historically served as a protective hedge against inflation and will continue to do so as our economy experiences unprecedented circumstances. During uncertain times, precious metals are starting to look more and more like the safety net we need, but it is important for individuals to invest before prices get too high.

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