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Financial markets in Europe and the US kept afloat amidst coronavirus drug hopes

By Ramla Soni

A breakthrough was reported by scientists at Imperial College London who claim to have reduced the a stage of the development time for a coronavirus vaccine from 'two to three years to just 14 days'

Financial markets in Europe and the US jumped with traders reportedly kept afloat by scientific efforts to treat the coronavirus epidemic.

A “significant breakthrough” was reported by scientists at Imperial College London in the UK, who claim to have reduced a stage of the development time for a coronavirus vaccine from “two to three years to just 14 days.”

The Euro Stoxx 600 index gained 1 per cent on the news, with Germany’s export-sensitive Dax up by 1.2 per cent and France’s Cac 40 up by 0.99 per cent. Oil prices have held on to most of their gains, with Brent crude futures still up by 2.8 per cent.

US futures also surged on the reports, with the Dow tipped to open around 280 points higher on Wednesday, breaching the 29,000-point mark. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq are also tipped to open with a surge.

However, the World Health OrganiSation (WHO) has played down media reports of a drug breakthrough against the coronavirus outbreak, saying there are “no known” drug treatments against the virus.

“There are no known effective therapeutics against this 2019-nCoV and WHO recommends enrolment into a randomised controlled trial to test efficacy and safety,” WHO said in a statement on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Christine Lagarde the president of the European Central Bank also expressed concern that China’s coronavirus outbreak is creating global economic uncertainty.

“The short-term uncertainties are mainly related to global risks – trade, geopolitical and now the outbreak of the coronavirus and its potential effect on global growth,” Lagarde reportedly said.

“While the threat of a trade war between the United States and China appears to have receded, the coronavirus adds a new layer of uncertainty,” she added.

The death toll from the virus outbreak has continued to climb in China, rising to 490.

More people have now died in this epidemic than in the SARS outbreak of 2002-3 in mainland China. During that outbreak, 349 people died in the mainland.

The new figures from China’s Health Commission showed that 65 people died on Tuesday and that 3,887 more people had been infected. So far, 24,324 people are known to have been infected.

FURTHER READING: Healthcare company Novacyt launches new coronavirus test

FURTHER READING: Chinese manufacturing expands despite coronavirus

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