Coronavirus Cure: Gilead’s Remdesivir Could Be Effective Against Virus

Gilead Sciences is in talks with China after the California-based biotechnology company developed a promising candidate for a vaccine against the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV). The drug appeared effective against the infection in both animals and a human patient. 

The drug, known as remdesivir, is set to be tested in infected residents in China after initial tests showed positive effects on other coronavirus patients. A man, who contracted the 2019-nCoV in Washington state, showed improvements in his condition a day after taking the drug, according to a recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine. 

Gilead said the potential 2019-nCoV treatment is active against other forms of coronaviruses in animals, especially MERS and SARS. The company also tested the drug against Ebola, Barron’s reported Monday.

“Gilead seems to be now among the front-runners in developing a treatment for coronavirus,” Citi analyst Mohit Bansal said in a statement.

However, the company has yet to secure approval to offer remdesivir to the public to treat any disease. But the drug already took the attention of the Chinese government.

Local officials have applied for a patent on the experimental drug. China submitted the application on Jan. 21, according to a statement posted on the website of the virology institute in Wuhan.

Bansal said that remdesivir may quickly become available for emergency use. However, he noted it may take longer before Gilead makes the potential 2019-nCoV treatment available commercially.

“We could see commercial opportunity for GILD in longer term as well since typically countries stockpile such drugs to safeguard against future outbreaks,” Bansal said.

Meanwhile, one of the world’s largest vaccine makers announced a plan to help speed up the development of a vaccine for the new coronavirus. GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) is offering a new technology to companies working to prevent the spread of the infection.

GSK’s vaccine making tool was designed to allow manufacturers to make more doses of a vaccine during production with less materials needed compared to other methods.

“Our adjuvant technology has previously been used successfully in the pandemic flu setting,” Thomas Breuer, chief medical officer at GSK, said in a statement. “It enables using only small quantities of the vaccine antigen which allows the production of more doses of the vaccine—a crucial advantage in a pandemic.”

Gilead Sciences Gilead Sciences has developed a promising candidate for a drug against the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV), which worked against the infection in both animals and a human patient in initial tests. Ivan Radic/flickr