The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) got an immediate boost on Wednesday from news that a potential coronavirus vaccine has been developed in Britain.
Scientist Robin Shattock of Imperial College announced a breakthrough in his team’s research this morning. Shattock’s discovery means a vaccine could be ready much faster than first thought. His team cut the development time from years to days.
The British scientist said:
Conventional approaches usually take at least two to three years before you even get to the clinic. And we’ve gone from that sequence to generating a candidate in the laboratory in 14 days.
The vaccine will go to animal trials next week. They’ll begin testing on humans in the summer if funding is secured.
While the breakthrough is significant, it will do little to stop the immediate threat.
‘The vaccine will be too late for this current outbreak but it will be crucial if there is another one’ – Sky News reported.
Shattock explained that his team’s vaccine would be critical if the coronavirus evolved into a global pandemic over the course of the year. Or if a second wave emerged after the warmer summer months.
It’s not going to be too late if this becomes a pandemic and if it circulates around the world. We still don’t know much about the epidemic itself so it may wane over the summer months if it is like influenza … We may see a second wave come through on a global basis and if it comes a vaccine will be really important and would be in place to tackle that.
The news was enough to calm investor fears of a long-term, global pandemic. The virus, which has infected 25,000 and killed almost 500, has analysts nervous about the economic impact in China and further afield.
Teams of scientists all over the world are now racing to find a cure. In one breakthrough, Thai doctors discharged six patients after using a cocktail of flu and HIV treatments.
Researchers in Hong Kong also claim to have discovered a vaccine, but the development time could be more than 12 months.
‘[Professor Yuen Kwok-yung] said it would take months to test the vaccine on animals and at least another year to conduct clinical trials on humans before it was fit for use’ – read an excerpt from the SCMP.
The breakthrough in the UK is significant because it drastically cuts down this development time.
This article was updated at 10.46 am ET to reflect current prices.
Last modified: February 5, 2020 3:47 PM UTC