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Dow opens up on Gilead Covid-19 drug hopes

By Lawrence Gash

Analysts predict FDA acceleration of remdesivir approval

The trials and tribulations of the remdesivir coronavirus drug trials by Gilead Sciences (GILD) have affected market sentiment for the past month. Wednesday was no different with the Dow Jones Industrial Average (0'>DJIA) opening up 1.76 per cent on the latest positive trial data.

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Gilead signalled that positive data is emerging from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) study of the antiviral drug. It stated: “We understand that the trial has met its primary endpoint and that NIAID will provide detailed information at an upcoming briefing.”

The biopharmaceutical firm with a market capitalisation of $103bn (£83bn, €95bn) added that it is undertaking its own trial. This aims to discover “whether a shorter, five-day duration of therapy may have a similar efficacy and safety as the five-day treatment course evaluated in the NIAID trial and other ongoing trials”.

Although Gilead has emphasised that “remdesivir is not yet licensed or approved anywhere globally and has not yet been demonstrated to be safe or effective for the treatment of Covid-19", Dow futures jumped on the news.

Remdesivir would be the first effective treatment for the virus that has claimed the lives of over 200,000 people and affected over 80 per cent of the global workforce, according to the International Labour Organisation.

Analysts at Jeffries argued on Wednesday that, although no data has yet been revealed, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) “will probably accelerate some sort of approval or expanded use for remdesivir following the latest trial”.

In mid-afternoon Wednesday trading (GMT) Gilead Sciences share price stood at $82.33, up 4.66 per cent.

FURTHER READING: Swiss pharmaceuticals company Roche to launch new Covid-19 antibody test

FURTHER READING: Gavi gives $29 million for poorer countries to tackle virus

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