Gilead says early results of coronavirus drug trial show improvement with shorter remdesivir treatment

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In this July 9, 2015, file photo, a man walks outside the headquarters of Gilead Sciences in Foster City, Calif.

Eric Risberg | AP

Gilead Sciences said Wednesday preliminary results of a coronavirus drug trial showed at least 50% of patients treated with a 5-day dosage of antiviral drug remdesivir improved and more than half were discharged from the hospital within two weeks.

Shares of Gilead were up more than 7% in premarket trading.

The clinical trial involved patients with severe cases of Covid-19. The severe study is “single-arm,” meaning it did not evaluate the drug against a control group of patients who didn’t receive the drug.

The study tracked two groups of patients who were hospitalized with Covid-19. One group received a 5-day treatment of remdesivir, while the other group took the drug for 10 days. The researchers said more than half of the patients in both treatment groups were discharged from the hospital within 14 days. Roughly 64.5% of the patients who received the shorter treatment course were discharged, compared with 53.8% of the group who were treated for 10 days. 

“These data are encouraging as they indicate that patients who received a shorter, 5-day course of remdesivir experienced similar clinical improvement as patients who received a 10-day treatment course,” said Aruna Subramanian, on the lead investigators of the study. 

There are no proven treatments for Covid-19, which has infected more than 3 million people worldwide and killed at least 217,569 as of Wednesday morning, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. U.S. health officials say producing a vaccine to prevent the disease will take at least 12 to 18 months, making finding an effective drug treatment soon even more crucial.

There a number of ongoing studies testing Gilead’s remdesivir to see if it’s effective in stopping the coronavirus from replicating.

Earlier this month,  Gilead surged after details leaked of one of its clinical trials, showing what appeared to be promising results in treating the disease.  The University of Chicago found that patients with Covid-19 had “rapid recoveries in fever and respiratory symptoms” and were discharged in less than a week, according to STAT News.

This is breaking news. Please check back for updates.

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