Gilead takes another step in the race towards coronavirus therapy

Gilead Science goes one step further in its experimental therapy for the coronavirus. Photo: Rober Solsona. Europa Press

Good news from the American pharmaceutical company in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic.

Gilead Sciences today announced that its experimental drug Remdesivir has achieved its primary goals in a clinical trial with coronavirus infected patients. Initial advances that raise hopes of developing an effective drug to treat patients with Covid-19.

Remdesivir is one of the antivirals being tested in several trials with coronavirus patients and tops the list of the most promising drugs in the race to develop a treatment, even more so after a clinical trial conducted by the US National Institute of Health (NIH) has shown that it works.

As Gilead Sciences explained in a statement, “The trial has served its primary purpose.” Following these advances, the NIH-dependent National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases is expected to issue a statement with more details on the study results.

Remdesivir is the antiviral that has been giving the best results so far in trials to find an effective treatment to deal with the global coronavirus pandemic, which infected more than three million people worldwide and has caused, at least, 217,000 deaths.

As reported by the company, an open Phase 3 trial of 6,000 severely ill patients with coronavirus, remdesivir has given similar positive results in 10-day and 5-day treatments. In both cases, at least 52% of patients were discharged after 14 days of treatment and at least 53% of them achieved “clinical recovery”.

“The study demonstrates the possibility that some patients may be treated with a five-day regimen, which could significantly expand the number of patients who could be treated with our current supply of remdesivir, which is particularly important in the context of a pandemic to help hospitals and healthcare workers treat more patients who need urgent care,” the Gilead said in a statement.

With this clinical trial, Gilead Sciences sought “to determine whether a shorter 5-day cycle of remdesivir would achieve similar results to the 10-day treatment regimen.” Although the data obtained invites optimism, the pharmaceutical company itself has recalled that, at the moment, this antiviral has not been approved in any country and has not yet been shown to be effective or safe for the treatment of coronavirus.

Bullish reaction on Wall Street

Gilead Science shares rebound about 4% on Wall Street. The pharmaceutical company has lived turbulent weeks in the Stock Market, since the press has been leaking data, both positive and negative, about its clinical trials. Today, however, their stocks are rising sharply and are trading above $ 81.

The news of a possible treatment has given an injection of optimism for US equities and, therefore, for the rest of the stock markets. The New York Stock Exchange scores gains of around 2%, while in Europe indices such as the Ibex 35, the Ftse 100 and the Dax Xetra advance more than 2% in the heat of the good news that comes from the other side of the Atlantic.