The US has so far clocked up almost eight million cases of COVID-19, with more than 215,000 deaths.

Despite the heavy toll, reports indicate students at the Idaho campus of Brigham Young University may have spotted a market opportunity.

Accounts have emerged of students looking to contract COVID-19 on purpose, generate the relevant antibodies in their plasma and then sell the plasma for cash.

US health authorities say plasma from fully-recovered patients may have benefits as a treatment for those suffering more severe symptoms.

A spokesperson for the school said they were “deeply troubled” by the allegations.

To local markets, and ASX investors were also profiting in morning trade as all the major indexes made steady gains.

Both the ASX200 (large caps) and the ASX Emerging Markets Index (microcaps) were up almost one per cent.

The gains followed a speech from RBA governor Philip Lowe this morning, which left most analysts to conclude that the central bank will go ahead and cut benchmark interest rates to 0.1 per cent next month.

WINNERS

Here are the best performing ASX small cap stocks at 12pm Thursday, October 15:

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CODE NAME PRICE % CHANGE MARKET CAP
TIG Tigers Realm Coal 0.031 343 $ 53,302,178.64
UUV UUV Aquabotix Ltd 0.002 100 $ 1,792,244.61
PM1 Pure Minerals Ltd 0.046 53 $ 22,043,942.25
ALT Analytica Limited 0.003 50 $ 7,039,224.66
ANW Aus Tin Mining 0.0015 50 $ 3,440,885.18
APG Austpac Resources NL 0.003 50 $ 5,668,004.33
PCL Pancontinental Oil 0.0015 50 $ 5,406,715.49
MLM Metallica Minerals 0.025 32 $ 6,153,938.33
DOU Douugh Limited 0.21 31 $ 48,775,736.96
NVO Nvoi Ltd 0.013 30 $ 17,977,264.60
MNB Minbos Resources Ltd 0.0025 25 $ 13,005,122.64
BNO Bionomics Limited 0.14 22 $ 80,876,507.59
ARR American Rare Earths 0.12 20 $ 29,091,959.20
OVT Ovato Limited 0.012 20 $ 7,320,043.17
SHH Shree Minerals Ltd 0.012 20 $ 8,092,368.92
SPQ Superior Resources 0.012 20 $ 11,580,299.06
SHO Sportshero Ltd 0.025 19 $ 7,060,327.34
VRS Veris Ltd 0.045 18 $ 15,399,548.87
ADO Anteotech Ltd 0.13 18 $ 185,677,096.66

Morning gains were led today by Tigers Realm Coal (ASX:TIG), which operates coal assets on the coast of the Bering Sea in Russia.

After announcing it had procured a coal handling and preparation plant from a UK-based company, TIG shares surged by as much as 300 per cent.

The £5.5m ($10m) transaction will allow TIG to advance its project development and bring its product mix up to 80 per cent metallurgical and 20 per cent thermal coal, the company said.

Also rising strongly was Pure Minerals (ASX:PM1), which signed a memorandum of understanding for an off-take agreement with South Korean chemicals giant LG Chem.

As part of the MoU, the two sides have agreed to “negotiate in good faith” for LG Chem to purchase up to 10,000 tonnes of nickel and around 1,000 tonnes of cobalt from PM1’s TECH Project in North Queensland.

LOSERS

Here are the worst performing ASX small cap stocks at 12pm Thursday, October 15:

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CODE NAME PRICE % CHANGE MARKET CAP
IMS Impelus Ltd 0.005 -17 $4,820,076.52
GLH Global Health Ltd 0.0035 -16 $ 16,839,328.00
WEC White Energy Company 0.11 -15 $ 100,682,233.47
ACW Actinogen Medical 0.024 -14 $ 31,254,476.96
NWE Norwest Energy NL 0.0035 -13 $ 18,937,868.30
TSC Twenty Seven Co. Ltd 0.007 -13 $ 13,663,208.73
OIL Optiscan Imaging 0.105 -13 $ 71,607,636.00
RDG Res Dev Group Ltd 0.062 -11 $ 177,108,138.76
CXX Cradle Resources Ltd 0.05 -11 $ 10,622,179.85
RVS Revasum 0.18 -10 $ 6,601,940.20
WKT Walkabout Resources 0.195 -9 $ 75,063,733.68
POW Protean Energy Ltd 0.01 -9 $ 3,497,662.43
BKY Berkeley Energia Ltd 0.635 -9 $ 179,730,766.90
AVL Aust Vanadium Ltd 0.011 -8 $ 35,081,588.27
EVE EVE Investments Ltd 0.011 -8 $ 45,965,902.68
MEB Medibio Limited 0.011 -8 $ 16,171,950.83
DRX Diatreme Resources 0.012 -8 $ 24,120,867.50
CAY Canyon Resources Ltd 0.12 -8 $ 77,892,128.47
M8S M8 Sustainable 0.06 -8 $ 11,407,508.13