Markets around the world are seeing continued declines as investors remain worried about the economic implications of the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is down 350 points (around 1.4%) at the moment, with the index having initially fallen as much as 950 points earlier in the day. Both the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq have fared better, with the S&P down just 0.8% while the Nasdaq ended the day having not moved much at all.
Mexico and Nigeria also announced their first confirmed COVID-19 cases on Friday. Although the World Health Organization (WHO) still has not formally declared the virus a pandemic, the agency has stated that global risk levels were increasing drastically.
The White House has continued to reassure the American public, saying that this week's decline in the markets is an overreaction. "Our threat assessment is low and the economy is fundamentally sound. I don't think this stock market plunge is going to have any long-term effect," said National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow in a Friday morning press briefing.
Treatments are currently in progress
While biotech companies are scrambling to develop and test potential treatments to COVID-19, it will still be quite a while before a vaccine or drug receives full approval. Gilead Sciences (NASDAQ:GILD) is perhaps the closest to developing a treatment, with the company utilizing its former Ebola drug remdesivir to help reduce COVID-19 patient symptoms. Gilead announced on Wednesday that there will be two phase 3 clinical trials in China testing the drug's effect in human patients.