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As it was proven that Remdesivir could reduce the risk of death from COVID-19, the EU has entered in agreement with Gilead for 30,000 of its antiretroviral drug doses. GILD stock is up in the pre-market.
The European Union has signed a 63 million euros ($73.99 million) deal with biopharmaceutical giant Gilead Sciences Inc (NASDAQ: GILD) for the supply of its antiretroviral drug Remdesivir. Through the deal, the European Union member states and the United Kingdom particularly those hard hit by the coronavirus would be availed treatment to about 30,000 patients using the antiretroviral drug.
“The Commission signed a contract with the pharmaceutical company Gilead for ensuring treatment doses of Veklury – the brand name for Remdesivir. As of early August onwards, batches of this medicine Veklury will be made available to member states and the UK,” Dana Spinant a spokeswoman for the European Commission, said during a press briefing.
“This first batch will therefore address just immediate needs. At the same time, the Commission is also now preparing joint procurement for further supplies of this medicine, which will cover additional needs from October onwards,” she said.
The treatment will be availed to patients with severe COVID-19 symptoms. GILD stock closed with at $73.01 representing a bearish 0.98% downtrend on Wednesday. The stocks appear to come off bullish with the news as it further gained a 0.21% in the pre-market which may see the stock run-up to beat its 52-week record high of $85.97
Remdesivir by Gilead (GILD) in the Wake of COVID-19
The instant and rapid spread of COVID-19 brought a lot of stress to everyone particularly to world government and frontline medical officers. Despite its alleged low mortality, the need to curb the spread and impact of the virus brought a lot of need to find a solution to first curb its spread and then to treat infected patients. Several alternatives were proposed including Chloroquine and Hydroxychloroquine which was particularly known to bring controversy fueled by the differing opinion of the United States Republicans and the Democrats about the potential of the drug and its probable side effects.
The drug Remdesivir, however, had goodwill from the Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of COVID-19. Consequent to this, Gilead sought and obtained orphan drug designation for Remdesivir from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on March 23, 2020. This designation was intended to encourage the development of drugs affecting fewer than 200,000 Americans by granting strengthened and extended legal monopoly rights to the manufacturer, along with waivers on taxes and government fees.
Remdesivir was of June 2020 priced at $390 and $520 per vial for the U.S. government and private insurance firms in the U.S. respectively. The recommended dosage was six vials per patient spread across a total duration of six days. While clinical trials have shown that Remdesivir can help fight the disease, other factors as noted by Dr. Peter Chin-Hong, an infectious disease specialist at the University of San Francisco, include the availability of enough oxygen and availability health officials. In his words:
“The performance of the drug isn’t only about the drug itself, it’s about the system and how the system is dealing with the illness. Do you have enough oxygen? Do you have enough nurses? Can a patient get a blood transfusion or other medicines they need? These are things we take for granted but may be more challenging in a surge environment.”
While the world patiently awaits the breakthrough in the discovery of a functional COVID-19 vaccine, Remdesivir will continue to be revered as one of the treatments of choice as the firm confirmed it helps reduce the risk of death