WHO Released Gilead’s Failed ‘Remdesivir’ Drug Test for Coronavirus

The test report of the Chinese trial of antiviral drugs, remdesivir led by Gilead Sciences Inc. or Gilead, was published accidentally by the World Health Organization (WHO).

According to the draft documents published by the WHO, the drug, which was given by intravenous infusion, failed to improve patients’ condition or reduce the pathogen’s presence in the bloodstream. The drugmaker, Gilead claimed that the findings of the Chinese clinical trial were inconclusive as the study was terminated early.

Gilead’s Remdesivir Testing

Gilead has been showing interest in conducting tests on remdesivir since there are currently no approved treatments or preventive vaccines available for COVID-19, and scientists across the globe are looking for any possible clues that might alter the course of the widespread contagious disease.

The news was firstly reported by the Financial Times and shares of Gilead closed down 4.3% after the data was inadvertently released. Meanwhile, it was reported that in another test at the University of Chicago Medicine hospital, using the drug was found to be helpful in the rapid recovery of those patients who had a fever and respiratory symptoms with COVID-19.

Nevertheless, a screenshot of the WHO posting, captured by the medical news website STAT before it was taken down, said the trial was conducted on 237 patients with 158 receiving remdesivir while 79 of them were under a control.

Subsequently, it was found that the death rate was higher at patients using the drug as 13.9% death for remdesivir versus 12.8% in the control group. However, Mizuho analyst Salim Syed said in a research note, “It’s still not that large of a study and therefore the statistics coming out of the trial aren’t exactly robust.”

Claimed to be Unfinished Study

Following the report released by the WHO, Gilead in a statement said the WHO posting included inappropriate characterizations of the study, which was terminated early due to low enrollment and, as a result, cannot be used to make statistically meaningful conclusions.

The drug-making company added, “The study results are inconclusive, though trends in the data suggest a potential benefit for remdesivir, particularly among patients treated early in the disease.” Meanwhile, the WHO also clarified that the draft manuscript was undergoing peer review before it would be officially released.

David Katz, chief investment officer at Matrix Asset Advisors that owns Gilead shares, stated that the clinical tests were going on for the drug and said, “we would not be selling (the stock) into weakness today.”

Gilead claimed that the awaiting results of a trial of remdesivir, which previously failed as an Ebola treatment, involving 400 patients hospitalized with severe COVID-19, would be expected to come out later this month. A separate trial to test the drug in China with more moderate symptoms last week was also suspended due to a lack of eligible patients.

I’m Roshan, a journalist, blogger and music lover. I like covering global news related to finance, business, and technology. Focusing on the collection of true and reliable information, I rely on working by conducting interviews with business leaders and talking to the inside sources of companies.

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