Optimism over a promising treatment for the novel coronavirus sent Asian markets surging Thursday.
Japan’s Nikkei index gained 422 points, or 2.4 percent, to close out the trading day at 20,193.69. Australia’s S&P/ASX was up 2.4 percent in late afternoon trading, while Shanghai’s index had gained 1.3 percent. The indexes in Hong Kong and Seoul were closed for public holidays.
The strong gains in Asia are a spillover from Wednesday’s gains on Wall Street, sparked by news that coronavirus patients who were given an experimental drug called remdesivir in a federal trial recovered rapidly from the disease. The results were praised by Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, as “very optimistic.” More good news came from Britain, where researchers at Oxford University say a vaccine for coronavirus, currently being tested on people, could be widely available as early as September.
Oil markets continued to recover, with the price of West Texas Intermediate crude, the U.S. benchmark, trading at $16.66 per barrel, a gain of 10.6 percent, while the international benchmark Brent crude was trading at $23.94 per barrel, up 6.2 percent.