Giving investors some hope there could be a coronavirus treatment solution that helps the country, and world, reopen faster from the widespread shutdowns that severely impacted the global economy, a report said the Gilead Sciences drug remdesivir has shown some effectiveness in treating the coronavirus. Stocks surged and the Dow rocketed nearly 700 points.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 697 points, or 3%. The S&P 500 traded 2.7% higher, while the Nasdaq Composite advanced 1.4%… Friday’s gain put the S&P 500 on track for its first back-to-back weekly gains since early February… Gilead shares jumped more than 7% after STAT news reported that a Chicago hospital treating coronavirus patients with remdesivir in a trial were recovering rapidly from severe symptoms. The publication cited a video it obtained where the trial results were discussed.
“An effective treatment is a huge deal and would create a path to open the economy and resume normal ‘social activities’ way sooner than a vaccine,” said Tom Lee, head of research at Fundstrat Global Advisors. “A treatment is safer and more scalable because it is only given to people who need to be treated.”
The stock market has rallied since March 23 as new coronavirus cases in the U.S. and globally showed signs of plateauing. President Donald Trump said Thursday that “our experts say the curve has flattened and the peak… is behind us.”
President Donald Trump called the drug remdesivir “promising” on March 18, 2020. It was originally created as a potential treatment for the Ebola and Marburg viruses. Trump has touted remdesivir and malaria drug hydroxychloroquine as “very exciting.” Both drugs are in clinical trials examining their effectiveness in treating the coronavirus. Remdesivir has shown some promise in treating both MERS and SARS, which are also caused by coronaviruses. Some medical professionals in the U.S., China and other parts of the world have been using both remdesivir and hydroxychloroquine in hopes that the drug can reduce the duration of COVID-19 the infectious disease caused by SARS-CoV-2 (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2).
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.
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.
Slawomir Michalak, a 57-year-old factory worker from a suburb west of Chicago, was among the participants in the Chicago study. His fever had spiked to 104 and he was struggling to breath. At the hospital, he was given supplemental oxygen. He also agreed to participate in Gilead’s severe Covid-19 clinical trial.
His first infusion of remdesivir was on Saturday, April 4. “My fever dropped almost immediately and I started to feel better,” he said. By his second dose on Sunday, Michalak said he was being weaned off oxygen. He received two more daily infusions of remdesivir and recovered enough to be discharged from the hospital on Tuesday, April 7.
“Remdesivir was a miracle,” he said.
MacDailyNews Take: Hopefully the trials prove remdesivir’s efficacy for COVID-19 treatment as we certainly need as many effective treatments as possible while the world await a vaccine!
See also: Antiviral remdesivir prevents disease progression in monkeys with COVID-19 — National Institutes of Health (NIH), April 17, 2020