Data from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases’ study on the Gilead Sciences Covid-19 antiviral remdesivir was published by the New England Journal of Medicine Friday night. The data show what investors already knew: Remdesivir is not a Covid-19 miracle cure for all, but it could shorten the time of recovery in some infected patients.
The findings showed patients that needed oxygen supplementation but not mechanical ventilators saw the largest benefit from the drug, according to Merdad Parsey, Gilead’s (ticker: GILD) chief medical officer.
“We are pleased that the findings from the NIAID trial of remdesivir in hospitalized patients with advanced COVID-19 have been published in a peer-reviewed medical journal,” Parsey said in a news release.
Still, Scripps Research Translational Institute director Eric Topoltold STAT News that though the drug is safe and effective, he didn’t see signs of benefits in the patients that began the study with the most severe cases, like those already needing ventilation. “We need to get something that works for these patients who have a high mortality rate,” Topol said.
In the news release, Parsey added that Gilead is looking forward to the start of combination studies of remdesivir to see if adding other drugs could make for a more effective treatment.
The Food and Drug Administration gave remdesivir emergency approval at the start of May after the NIAID said its randomized, controlled trial of the drug found it shortened the recovery time for Covid-19 patients.
Gilead stock has jumped 13% in 2020 as investors grew optimistic on remdesivir’s potential as a Covid-19 treatment—even as the company said it would give away existing doses and license it to generic drug makers royalty-free until the coronavirus crisis ends or another treatment takes its place.
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