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Gilead climbs as coronavirus drug shows efficacy, starts trial

February 03, 2020 / Nick Paul Taylor

Gilead has made progress in its effort to reposition failed Ebola drug remdesivir as a treatment for the coronavirus sweeping across China. In quick succession, it emerged that the nucleotide analogue prodrug appeared to help the first U.S. case of the virus and is set to undergo clinical testing in China, sending Gilead’s stock up by as much as 13% in premarket trading. Remdesivir was one of a clutch of drugs tested against Ebola, but it failed to match the efficacy of its rivals, leading its development against that virus to come to a halt. However, preclinical tests have suggested the drug is effective against murine hepatitis virus and Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus, leading Gilead to propose it as an answer to the outbreak that began in Wuhan, China. Gilead publicly floated the idea of using remdesivir to treat the coronavirus, dubbed 2019-nCoV, 10 days ago. Since then, the effort to advance the drug in the indication has gathered pace.