The World Health Organization (WHO) has classified the Wuhan Coronavirus as an international health emergency. Over 8,000 people have caught the virus in China, with 170 deaths resulting from it so far. The virus poses a risk of becoming a worldwide pandemic.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that the spouse of one of the first U.S. cases has caught the virus, despite having never been to Wuhan. So far people in 19 countries have been affected, but no one has died outside of China. CDC director Robert Redfield said, "We understand that this may be concerning, but based on what we know now, we still believe the immediate risk to the American public is low."
Markets affected by Wuhan Coronavirus
Airlines are severely curtailing flights in and out of China. United (NASDAQ:UAL), American Airlines (NASDAQ:AAL) and Delta (NYSE:DAL) have suspended flights to and from China this week. United is down 13% for the year. Cruise lines have also been hit. Royal Caribbean (NYSE:RCL) is down 11%.
The good news is that Chinese health authorities have sequenced the virus. The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) is working with Moderna (NASDAQ:MRNA) to produce a vaccine. The Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) is financing the effort. CEPI is also funding a vaccine from Inovio (NASDAQ:INO). Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) is working on a vaccine as well.
Sequencing the virus will speed up vaccination attempts. Anthony Fauci, director of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institute of Health, says clinical trials could begin in three months.