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Vir Biotechnology stock jumps after coronavirus collaboration with NIH

Vir Biotechnology Inc. is partnering with the U.S. National Institutes of Health to develop antibodies to counter the new coronavirus.

The agreement mirrors a similar collaboration Vir announced with WuXi Biologics (Cayman) Inc. to develop antibodies to counter the virus, which causes a respiratory disease known as COVID-19.

COVID-19 is caused by a member of the coronavirus family that is a close cousin to the SARS and MERS viruses that have caused outbreaks in the past. The disease is caused by a virus called 2019-nCoV. The abbreviation nCoV stands for novel coronavirus, and COVID is short for coronavirus disease.

San Francisco-based Vir Biotechnology has identified certain antibodies that bind to the novel coronavirus. These targetted antibodies were isolated from people who have survived a SARS infection.

Vir Biotechnology will now develop such antibodies in partnership with NIH's National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and Vaccine Research Center to treat COVID-19, SARS and MERS, as well as additional types of coronaviruses.

Vir Biotechnology's stock price was up 15.05% following the announcement to $34.41 per share as of 11:20 a.m. ET on March 11, 2020.