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Oil prices skid 2%, extending slide as China coronavirus spreads

Saudi Arabia's Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman Al-Saud said that he was watching developments closely in China and said he felt confident that the new virus would be contained

January 27, 2020 / 10:52 AM IST

Oil prices slumped a further 2 percent to multi-month lows on January 27 as the rising number of cases of the new China coronavirus and city lockdowns deepened concerns about demand for crude, even as Saudi Arabia's energy minister sought to calm the market.

Brent crude fell by $1.12 a barrel, or 1.9 percent, to $59.57 by 0113 GMT, having earlier dropped to $58.68, the lowest since late October 2019.

US crude slipped by $1.14, or 2.1 percent, to $53.05, having earlier eased to $52.15, the lowest since early October.

Saudi Arabia's Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman Al-Saud said on January 26 that he was watching developments closely in China and said he felt confident that the new virus would be contained.

Markets are being "primarily driven by psychological factors and extremely negative expectations adopted by some market participants despite its very limited impact on global oil demand," he said.

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COVID-19 Vaccine

Frequently Asked Questions

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How does a vaccine work?

A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.

How many types of vaccines are there?

There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.

What does it take to develop a vaccine of this kind?

Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.

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With the coronavirus' ability to spread getting stronger most financial markets are being hit, although many are closed in Asia due to the Lunar New Year holidays.
Reuters
first published: Jan 27, 2020 08:56 am

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