As Ebola enters the U.S., investors rush to biotech

When it comes to Ebola, some investors are hoping the deadly disease's entry into the U.S. brings opportunity.

It may seem ghoulish, but shares of biotechnology companies that are working on treatments saw their shares spike on Wednesday. Investors also punished some stocks that might get hurt with the disease's spread, sending shares of airlines down.

Tekmira Pharmaceuticals (TKMR) saw its shares jump as much as 25 percent on Wednesday, while Sarepta Therapeutics (SRPT) rose as much as 5.9 percent. Other biotech companies getting a lift included BioCryst Pharmaceuticals (BCRX) and Lakeland Industries (LAKE), with the latter making hazmat suits and other protective gear for healthcare workers and first responders.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed the first case of Ebola virus in the U.S., with the unidentified patient having flown to this country last month from Liberia. The Ebola outbreak that has hit West Africa is the largest in history and the first epidemic of the disease.

Dr. Tom Frieden, the CDC's director, told "CBS This Morning" that the agency is "stopping this in its tracks in the U.S." The CDC will track down people who had come in contact with the infected person, whose name and age hasn't yet been revealed, and monitor them for 21 days.

Tekmira last month said it was collaborating with an international consortium to provide expedited clinical trials in West Africa. In an August study, it was revealed that an experimental treatment from Tekmira was tested on monkeys sickened by an Ebola-like illness, the Marburg virus, with all the animals surviving, according to Bloomberg.

Meanwhile, Sarepta told CNBC that its treatment, which showed a 60 percent to 80 percent success rate in monkeys, required more funding to ramp up production. Its chief executive, Chris Garabedian, said the company only had enough doses to handle about 100 patients.

While airline carriers were hit on concerns about how the spread of the Ebola virus might affect their business, none of the major U.S. carriers with overseas operations flies to Liberia, Bloomberg points out. Delta suspended its operations to Monrovia, the capital of Liberia, earlier this year, citing weak profit margins.

Shares of United Continental Holdings (UAL) slipped as much as 5.2 percent, while other airlines that saw their stocks dip on Wednesday included Delta (DAL) and American Airlines (AAL).