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Remdesivir, Gilead Sciences’ experimental drug for patients with severe COVID-19 infection, showed promise in an early analysis, raising tentative hope that the first treatment for the novel virus may be on the horizon.
Since COVID-19 is raging through the world, scientists from almost all countries joined their efforts in finding a new vaccine that will break this circle of illness and deaths. Some early research shows that an experimental treatment for the coronavirus may help very sick patients improve their breathing with the drug Remdesivir, an experimental antiviral treatment from Gilead Sciences (NASDAQ: GILD). However, some experts warn before it is safely recommended, the drug needs to go through more safety studies.
The research, published Friday in The New England Journal of Medicine, looked at 53 coronavirus patients who had been given Remdesivir through something called “compassionate use.”
As for Gilead (GILD) stock, on Thursday (the last trading day this week) it closed with the fall of 1.97% at $73.51.
Remdesivir Helps People Breathing Easier
Be it as it may, the majority of the patients, approximately 68 percent of them were successfully reduced the amount of oxygen support needed. Also, 17 of 30 patients who’d been on ventilators were able to come off of those machines. This might be a huge deal since COVID-19 patients who need to be put on ventilators appear to be more likely to suffer long-term health consequences, and may have worse outcomes.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said:
“If you go on a ventilator there is roughly only a 20 percent chance that you will come off the ventilator. The longer you are on the ventilator, the lower the chance that you come off.”
He also said on Saturday that 783 new coronavirus-related deaths were recorded in the federal state during the past day as the virus spreading curve continued to flatten.
Earlier in the day, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio announced all public schools will remain closed in the city for the rest of the academic year due to the virus outbreak.
With the latest update, the United States has surpassed Italy when it comes to the number of virus victims, becoming the country with the largest amount of COVID-19 deaths in the world.
It Is Not Sure that Remdesivir by Gilead Could Help Alone
The mentioned research has several important admonitions. It is, after all, a pretty small study, and its authors did not compare their patients’ outcomes with a control group in order to find out for sure if the improvements happened because of use of Remdesivir, or whether they would have gotten better on their own, without treatment.
Jonathan Grein, the study’s lead author and director of hospital epidemiology at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center commented:
“Currently there is no proven treatment for COVID-19. We cannot draw definitive conclusions from these data, but the observations from this group of hospitalized patients who received remdesivir are hopeful.”
Still, Gilead Chief Medical Officer Merdad Parsey called the data “encouraging” but “limited.”
Randomized clinical trials are underway for Remdesivir that will provide a better basis for conclusions. Two such studies, which are being done in China, are expected to produce results in mid-April.