We may not have a vaccine yet, but a new drug combating the symptoms of the Wuhan coronavirus disease has yielded excellent results. The company Gilead Sciences has developed a new anti-viral for severe COVID-19 patients that was tested on 125 people selected by The University of Chicago Medicine. Most of the patients were discharged, while two sadly passed away. We need all the good news we can get as the nation has undergone a lockdown to curb the spread. Some 29 states are either going to enter the initial phases of re-opening some aspects of their respective economies or are on the cusp of doing so. That’s good. Pharmaceutical companies are moving as quickly as possible to develop better testing and treatments for COVDI-19. This drug could be added into the arsenal as an effective stopgap until we have a proper vaccine (via Stat News):
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.
Her comments were made this week during a video discussion about the trial results with other University of Chicago faculty members. The discussion was recorded and STAT obtained a copy of the video.
The outcomes offer only a snapshot of remdesivir’s effectiveness. The same trials are being run concurrently at other institutions, and it’s impossible to determine the full study results with any certainty. Still, no other clinical data from the Gilead studies have been released to date, and excitement is high. Last month, President Trump touted the potential for remdesivir…
Another treatment being used in some places is the antimalarial drug hydroxychloroquine, which 6,000 doctors from over 30 countries ranked as the most effective against the virus. Sixty-five percent of US doctors said they would prescribe it to their family members if anyone contracted the Wuhan virus, with 67 percent saying they would take it themselves if infected. The preliminary Gilead data caused the Dow Jones to surge by almost 1,000 points today as well (via CNBC):
Stocks surged on Friday after a report said a Gilead Sciences drug showed some effectiveness in treating the coronavirus, giving investors some hope there could be a treatment solution that helps the country reopen faster from the widespread shutdowns that have plunged the economy into a recession.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rallied 704.81 points, or 3%, to 24,242.49. It was the Dow’s first close above 24,000 since March 10. The S&P 500 closed 2.7% higher, at 2,874.56 while the Nasdaq Composite advanced 1.4% to 8,650.14. (Click here for the latest market news.)
Boeing shares jumped 14.7% after the airplane maker said it would resume production in the Seattle area as early as April 20. The company also said Friday it would resume operations in the Philadelphia area.
In the meantime, unless otherwise instructed by your governor, stay home, wash your hands, and avoid touching your face. This too shall pass.
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