The eight maids milking are thought to represent the religious eight beatitudes or blessings, which were recounted by Jesus during the Sermon on the Mount in the Gospel of Matthew. Each is a proverb-like proclamation, without narrative. Milkmaids were also associated with good skin at this period of time because they were likely to avoid smallpox that scarred so many others.
Because of the close association with cows, milkmaids were exposed to cowpox, a much less serious disease that made them immune to smallpox. The English physician and scientist Edward Jenner who pioneered the concept of vaccines, relied on this observation to develop the first “vaccine,” a word that comes from the Latin word for “cow.”
As this year has taught us, the power of a vaccine can bring immense hope during a viral outbreak such as the coronavirus pandemic of Covid-19, but it can also become an investment opportunity. When pharmaceutical company Pfizer and biotechnology company BioNTech jointly announced in November that one of its vaccines was found to be 90% more effective in preventing Covid-19, optimism returned and markets reacted positively.
Confidence in the stability of future investments plays a key role in whether markets go up or down, and investors are betting that a successful vaccine will help the economy recover and reopen after a year of strict lockdown measures. An effective vaccine should mean people can return to travelling, working from their offices, shopping in stores and gathering for public events again.
The UK itself has secured 40 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine, along with seven million doses of the Moderna vaccine and 100 million doses of the Oxford x AstraZeneca vaccine, with vaccinations already being rolled out this month to the most vulnerable. Sinovac, the Chinese pharmaceutical firm, says its vaccine is nearly ready and will be rolled-out across the world early next year. As these companies continue to make great strides towards a solution, we move closer to a return to normality once more (whatever that may look like).
The value of an investment and the income from it can go down as well as up and investors may not get back the amount invested. This may be partly the result of exchange rate fluctuations in investments which have an exposure to foreign currencies.
If you would like to read the previous article for the seventh day of the '12 Days of Christmas: Seven Swans A-Swimming', please click here.