Early peek at data on Gilead coronavirus drug suggests patients are responding to treatment - This article by Adam Feuerstein for statnews.com may be of interest to subscribers. Here is a section:
A Chicago hospital treating severe Covid-19 patients with Gilead Sciences’ antiviral medicine remdesivir in a closely watched clinical trial is seeing rapid recoveries in fever and respiratory symptoms, with nearly all patients discharged in less than a week, STAT has learned.
Remdesivir was one of the first medicines identified as having the potential to impact SARS-CoV-2, the novel coronavirus that causes Covid-19, in lab tests. The entire world has been waiting for results from Gilead’s clinical trials, and positive results would likely lead to fast approvals by the Food and Drug Administration and other regulatory agencies. If safe and effective, it could become the first approved treatment against the disease.
The University of Chicago Medicine recruited 125 people with Covid-19 into Gilead’s two Phase 3 clinical trials. Of those people, 113 had severe disease. All the patients have been treated with daily infusions of remdesivir.
“The best news is that most of our patients have already been discharged, which is great. We’ve only had two patients perish,” said Kathleen Mullane, the University of Chicago infectious disease specialist overseeing the remdesivir studies for the hospital.
One of the biggest challenges with COVID-19 is hospitals had no treatment for it so they were flying blind with how they manage patients with severe symptoms. That has resulted in prolonged stays in hospital which has gummed up the medical systems of a significant number of countries.
Remdesivir has shown promise in anecdotal reports over the last three months but is quickly being backed up by better supported data. That’s good news for patients but is also positive for the global economy because with a successful treatment regime, fewer people will die, time to recover will shorten and the need to sustain lockdowns to avoid an absence of hospital beds will be reduced.
Gilead Sciences has been putting in a first step above its base for the last month and is now likely to trend higher.
Abbott Laboratories is expecting its rapid testing program to reach the general population in June. Helping to identify asymptomatic cases through extensive testing is the only way to ensure this outbreak is contained so people can get back to work quickly.
Both these developments support the view the viral outbreak is a six-month rather than an 18-month affair.
Regeneron which is focusing on its antibody test continues to extend its rebound.
Moderna remains the company with the most progress in developing a vaccine.