All eyes are on Gilead Sciences ($GILD) now, as it is among the closest to delivering a successful treatment for Covid-19. There are many clinical trials being conducted all over the world to treat the growing respiratory pandemic brought about by the virus called SARS-CoV-2. The stay-at-home orders have been primarily introduced because of the lack of any effective way to stop the contagion and deaths being caused. This is clearly a global pandemic, and reports now confirm hospital admissions rose dramatically in all of the acutely affected nations. The world is pinning its hopes on science and pharmaceutical companies to develop a treatment and drug that can halt its devastating effects and rising death tolls. Any breakthroughs will be welcomed with open arms, and many of these hopes are translating into rising prices in the stock prices of the companies developing and chasing to be the one with the winning treatment.


Remdesivir: Is Gilead's corona Drug Closest to being crowned king?

Any company working on a treatment knows it takes big resources to scale and bring a drug to market. In these desperate times, we see testing periods and trials done by a multitude of companies, usually big pharmaceutical companies with the experience, resources, and money to scale and profit if their solution is the right one. Any company able to show promising results in trials or even anecdotally will see their stock prices rise dramatically in anticipation that the company has developed a real difference-maker. One such stock is GILD. Gilead has an ongoing trial, whose initial details came out and showed promise recently, and more extensive test results are imminent. This optimism has seen the stock soar, and it all has to do with the Remdesivir drug. Once it's effective it will still take time to bring this into commercial production and the full national markets, but biotechs tend to trade on the promise of future drugs and future approvals so this is nothing new to Pharma valuations. There are supply chains that need to be secured to manufacture the drug. Manufacturing capacities need to be scaled up, and the drug needs to be distributed around the world before the company would enjoy big profits that’s where it really gets tough and proves to be a race against time. Before Coronavirus runs its full course, the world would want to see a treatment put an end to the worldwide fear, instability, and paralysis, and loss of life.

Remdesivir Seems Fully Equipped to Deal with Covid-19

So how effective is Remdesivir against Covid-19? According to a report by the STAT digital publication quoted by Motley Fool, a video has emerged about interim results of a continuing clinical trial from the University of Chicago Medicine.

University of Chicago Medicine study had included 125 Covid-19 patients, 113 of whom were severe. They were given Remdesivir daily. Some of the patients were removed from the ventilators as their breathing troubles subsided in a short time. Many of the patients were successfully discharged in just six days while others had high fever subsiding almost immediately. Two patients died. The University is just one of the many institutions participating in the trials.

Limited Supply Prevents Shorter Duration Tests

The study by Gilead has primarily dealt with 10-day courses of the drug. But now the company would want to test for a shorter period of time. But drug supply is currently limited. That’s why it’s such a struggle.

Manufacturing Challenges and Chemical Composition

It was only after January 2020 that Gilead Sciences started manufacturing Remdesivir actively. It isn’t hard to understand why, because the drug had not been commercialized then, and still isn’t. That time there were only enough drugs for 5000 patients on the basis of a 10-day treatment course. It was only after the massive coronavirus lockdown in China that Gilead then started acquiring the rare materials needed for manufacturing the drug on a large scale. The company has managed to bring down the manufacturing boosting period to 6 to 12 months. But it also has to deal with the complex chemistry required to formulate and manufacture it. All hopes are on Gilead, and it is believed the company will deliver the goods. At this stage, it is the brightest light in the fight against Covid-19. And that makes the stock highly valuable.

Contrasting Report Sends Stock Tumbling

But the big rally by GILD came to a halt after a new, leaked Chinese study revealed that there wasn’t any noticeable benefit from Remdesivir, according to this report by Forbes. The stock was sent tumbling. Gilead is, of course, contesting the results that were prematurely posted by the World Health Organization (WHO). Not only were the results leaked, Gilead claims they are inconclusive because of the test ending early and causing low enrollment. Gilead also claimed that there were trends which suggested patients receiving early treatment of the drugs did experience benefits. Nevertheless, Gilead stock sank 8% on Thursday afternoon but then recovered to $77.78. InvestorPlace analyst Luke Lango reckons that clearer clinical trial data in May will reveal positive results from Remdesivir. While there are many other pharmaceutical companies working to be the one with the treatment and cure the world of this plague. Gilead seems to be the closest one based on anecdotal feedback and early promising results, but developing cures on the fly is no certain or easy task. Considering the speed at which Covid-19 is spreading, a positive study will be good for Gilead and should continue to move the stock higher, but more importantly, lift the spirits of the world higher as well.


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