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BUSINESS 

Oil jumps 3% on reports of effective coronavirus drug

Oil prices jumped by more than 3% on Wednesday on reports that scientists have developed an effective drug against the fast-spreading coronavirus that has weighed heavily on global economic activity.

News that the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and its producer allies are considering further output cuts to counter a potential squeeze on global oil demand further supported that had collapsed by more than 20% since early January.

Both Brent crude oil futures LCOc1 and U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude CLc1 jumped by more than 3% in morning trade. By 0947 GMT Brent was up $1.44, or 2.6%, at $55.40 a barrel and (WTI) was up $1.19, or 2.4%, at $50.80.

China's Changjiang daily reported on Tuesday that a research team at Zhejiang University had found two new drugs that can effectively "inhibit coronavirus". 

Separately, Sky News reported that a British scientist has made a significant breakthrough in the race for a vaccine by reducing part of the normal development time from two to three years to only 14 days.

A vaccine will be too late for the current virus but the breakthrough will be crucial if there is another outbreak

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