The tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index finished at 10,617.44, up 0.7 percent, notching its sixth record close in seven sessions.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 1.4 percent to end the week at 26,075.30, while the broad-based S&P 500 advanced 1.1 percent to close at 3,185.04.
Investors cheered remarks from the head of German biotech firm BioNTech to the Wall Street Journal that a vaccine candidate would be ready for regulatory review by the end of the year.
Analysts also pointed to a positive announcement from Gilead Sciences about clinical trials on remdesivir, a drug treatment for coronavirus.
The US has been averaging more than 50,000 new coronavirus cases a day of late, leading more states where infections are spiking to roll back steps to reopen their economies after closures earlier this year.
But airlines and hotel stocks rallied Friday, along with petroleum producers — sectors hard-hit by social distancing protocols.
The prospect of a vaccine in the foreseeable future “is the kind of announcement that gives the market a bit of comfort that there is light at the end of this,” said Quincy Krosby, chief market strategist at Prudential Financial.
Another winner was Carnival, which surged 10.8 percent as it confirmed that its Aida cruise line would resume sailing in August, the first of nine brands to begin again after a worldwide shutdown due to the pandemic.