(Yicai Global) Jan. 21 -- Chinese authorities' confirmation that new coronavirus cases that started in Wuhan, a city in south-central China, have sprung up in other cities and that the virus can be passed from person to person gave quite a boost this morning to the share prices of four Chinese genetic testing firms that have developed detection kits for the virus, though all said their products are only to identify, not treat the virus, now designated 2019-nCoV.
Da An Gene [SHE:002030] shares hit limit up at today's opening, reporting 10 percent up at CNY12.31 (USD1.80) in a reprise of yesterday's showing when they also hit the price ceiling. The company announced that it had developed two test kits when replying to investors' questions on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange's interactive platform yesterday, when its share price also hit limit up. Several other stocks have also surged 20 percent since yesterday, such as Shandong Lukang Pharmaceutical [SHA:600789] and Xiangxue Pharmaceutical [SHE:300147], in addition to Da An Gene.
In all, more than 20 medical firms rose 10 percent to stop trading, per exchange rules.
Guangzhou Wondfo Biotech's shares [SHE:300482] closed up 7.15 percent at CNY62.80 (USD9.15) today. The company announced yesterday that it had successfully developed a detection card for the new coronavirus. Its stock price also rose sharply that same day.
Jiangsu Bioperfectus Technologies [SHA:688399] bobbed up 18.7 percent at CNY93.3 today. Its fluctuation range is 20 percent, since the firm listed on the Shanghai STAR Market. The company developed a nucleic acid detection kit for Wuhan's new coronavirus and the product's sales will depend on the prevention and control of the epidemic, it announced on Jan. 14. The firm's shares have risen by an aggregate 47.9 percent in the week since then.
BGI Genomics [SHE:300676] notched up 3.34 percent at CNY79.16 today. The company also came up with a new coronavirus detection kit on Jan.14 and its shares have jumped about 16.2 percent overall in the wake of its announcement to that effect.
Medical institutions in Wuhan have been receiving cases of pneumonia of an unknown type since December. Preliminary pathogenic investigations show that a new type of coronavirus may be the cause of the infection. Those afflicted by the new bug were initially limited to Wuhan, a transit hub home to 11 million residents, but many provinces and cities in China have detected infected people in recent days coming from the city, which confirmed 136 new cases on Jan. 19. Four deaths have been reported thus far. Suspected cases have also popped up in Australia, Japan, South Korea, Singapore and Thailand.
The new type of coronavirus-infected pneumonia, which is transmitted human-to-human, has already infected 14 medical workers in Wuhan, Zhong Nanshan, head of the high-level expert group of China's National Health Commission, told state broadcaster CCTV yesterday.
China had reported 219 cases, including 198 in Wuhan, five in Beijing, 14 in Guangdong and two in Shanghai as of 7.30 a.m., according to the latest NHC data.
China's Spring Festival -- the world's largest annual human migration -- is just around the corner, and hundreds of millions of Chinese will travel during it to be with family, both domestically and internationally.
This new epidemic is reminiscent of the severe acute respiratory syndrome epidemic that raged between November 2002 and July 2003, when an outbreak of SARS in South China produced an eventual 8,098 cases, resulting in 774 deaths in 37 countries. Most instances occurred in China and Hong Kong. Both SARS and the new Wuhan flu emerged in live animal markets in South China in the runup to the lunar new year holiday and spread rapidly, borne by festival travelers.
Some 15.7 million Chinese forayed abroad in 2002, according to the Routledge Handbook of Tourism Research. That figure is set to rise to 200 million this year, information and consulting platform ChinaGoAbroad projects, so the World Health Organization's decision to call an emergency meeting tomorrow in Geneva to discuss the epidemic should come as no great surprise.
Coronaviruses are common viruses that cause infections of the nose, sinuses or throat. Most are not dangerous, but some are fatal. The name corona ('crown') describes their circular structure with its radiating filaments. A novel coronavirus is a new strain not previously seen in humans.
Editor: Ben Armour