Daily Management Review

Gilead Sciences’ Experimental Drug Show Encouraging Results On COVID-19 Patients


Are we closer than we think from finding a cure to the never seen before pandemic that the world is battling at present?

Last week, Gilead Sciences’ shares jumped by sixteen percent as a “media report” claimed that the former’s experimental medicine, remdesivir, had shown “encouraging partial data” from the trails conducted on “severe COVID-19 patients”.
Moreover, a hospital of University of Chicago’s study showed that the above mentioned “antiviral medication” has caused “rapid recoveries in fever and respiratory symptoms”, as the patients involved in the trails were “discharged in less than a week”.
While, in an email, Gilead stated:
“the totality of the data need to be analyzed in order to draw any conclusions from the trial.”
On the other hand, UChicago Medicine cautioned:
“partial data from an ongoing clinical trial is by definition incomplete and should never be used to draw conclusions.”
According to the university, the said information was from an “internal forum for research colleagues” which dealt with the progress of the work while the information was “released without any authorisation”. Gilead is conducting Phase 3 tests on “severe COVID-19” while the complete data gathered thus will be made available in the next month of May 2020.
The University of Chicago happens to be one of the hundred and fifty two such organisations taking part in the above mentioned trial of Gilead which involve severe cases of COVID-19 victims. The university does not “measure the drug against a matched group of patients treated with a placebo” while another trial involving moderate cases of COVID-19 has hundred and sixty nine study locations.
Currently, no approved medication is available to treat the “highly contagious respiratory illness” caused by the novel coronavirus which is wreaking havoc across the world. However, as per STAT report, UChicago Medicine was testing on hundred and thirteen severe COVID-19 cases for Gilead’s medicine, whereby most have been “discharged” with two reported dealths.
In a research note, the RBC Capital Markets’ Analyst, Brian Abrahams said:
“anecdotal data ... looks promising on the surface and continues to support some potential for the drug to be active in certain COVID-19 patients. Nonetheless, there are major limitations to contextualizing and interpreting this data.”
Gilead has captured high interest for its drug remdesivir amid the “ongoing coronavirus pandemic”. In fact, the New England Journal of Medicine came up with an analysis which showed that “two-thirds of a small group of severely ill COVID-19 patients” improved after treating them with remdesivir.
Even though, the author of the above mentioned report called the findings “hopeful”, a cautionary note was added informing that since the data was not available for comparing to “a control group” it was “difficult to interpret the results”. Furthermore, the number of patients treated thus were small in number while limited details regarding the process was made available and the follow-up time, claimed the author, was “relatively short”.
However, Reuters also reported:
“The U.S National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease in February began an 800-patient trial that randomly assigns patients to treatment with either remdesivir or a placebo. Those results are not expected until after Gilead’s trial reads out”.