Gilead said patients treated with remdesivir, an investigational antiviral for the treatment of COVID-19, showed improved recoveries in as Phase III study, with a 62% reduction in mortality rates. Gilead said comparative findings from the trial showed that 74.4% of patients treated with remdesivir recovered from the virus by day 14, while the figure for those receiving standard care showed a 59% recovery rate.
Earlier Friday, Australian health officials approved the use of remdesivir as a first treatment option for patients suffering the most severe forms of the novel coronavrius.
“We are working to broaden our understanding of the full utility of remdesivir. To address the urgency of the continuing pandemic, we are sharing data with the research community as quickly as possible with the goal of providing transparent and timely updates on new developments with remdesivir,” said Gilead's chief medical officer Merdad Parsey.
“These data presented at the Virtual COVID-19 Conference shed additional light on the use of remdesivir in specific patient populations, including those that may be susceptible to higher rates of COVID-19 infection, as well as others that are particularly vulnerable, including children and pregnant and postpartum women," Parsey added.
Gilead shares were marked 2% higher in early trading Friday following the release to change hands at $76.23 each, a move that would extend the stock's year-to-date gain to around 17%.
Remdesivir was first designed to combat the Ebola virus and has been given emergency use clearance by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration earlier this spring under rules allow patients to use unapproved drugs in life-threatening situations when all other options have been exhausted.
Gilead said at the time that "positive data emerging from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases'" study of remdesivir indicates the treatment has "met its primary endpoint" and also noted that its own study showed that nearly two thirds of the nearly 400 severe-stage coronavirus patients using remdisivir were discharged from hospital after using the treatment early, a better rate than those given the drug at a later stage.
The studies contradicted reports leaked on the World Health Organization website last month that suggested remdesivir had little success in a China-based study that was halted after authorities said there weren't enough patients enrolled.