While social distancing and flattening the curve are the initial strategies to reduce the spread of SARS-CoV-2 — the clinical name for the novel coronavirus — the production of vaccines and treatments be crucial over the longer term, especially if the virus mounts a resurgence in the fall. But the scientific, medical and manufacturing demands are much more challenging than the stock market’s exuberant reaction might indicate.
The surge was based on a videotaped comments by a University of Chicago Medicine researcher leading a local trial site for Gilead’s experimental drug remdesivir. The video was obtained by the news site STAT. Of 113 patients who were severely ill with covid-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, only two people treated with the drug died, and most got better quickly, the researcher said. It was not disclosed how many were on ventilators before they improved.
University of Chicago Medicine is one of dozens of sites listed by Gilead on clinicaltrials.gov as for the company’s remdesivir study, with the 6,000 patients grouped into four categories of disease severity and dosing. The worldwide trial is ongoing, with preliminary results not expected until next month.
“Drawing any conclusions at this point is premature and scientifically unsound,” University of Chicago Medicine said in a statement.