According to health authorities in South Korea, one third of seriously ill Covid-19 patients showed an improvement in their condition after being treated with Gilead’s (GILD) remdesivir drug, Reuters reports.
However, additional research is still required to see if the improvement was connected to something other than the antiviral drug, for instance patients’ immunity or other therapies, the authorities said.
The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) deputy director Kwon Jun-wook was reporting results from an initial group of 27 patients in different hospitals.
Out of the 27 patients given remdesivir, 9 saw their condition improved, 15 stayed in the same condition, and 3 patients deteriorated Kwon Jun-wook said. He added that the results had not been compared with a control group so further work was needed.
Nonetheless, South Korea has already required a supply of 5,000 remdesivir treatments from Gilead in case of a second coronavirus outbreak. The company has already recorded almost 13,500 cases with 289 deaths.
Meanwhile Australia’s Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) has just granted provisional approval to remdesivir (“Veklury”) as the first treatment option for Covid-19.
“Remdesivir is the most promising treatment option so far to reduce hospitalisation time for those suffering from severe coronavirus infections” the Australian health administration stated, adding that remdesivir offers the potential to reduce the strain on Australia’s health care system. By reducing recovery times patients will be able to leave hospital earlier, freeing beds for those in need.
Shares in Gilead rose 2% to $76.32 at the close of trading on July 10 taking the year-to-date advance to about 18%. The $80 average price target implies 5% upside potential in the shares in the coming 12 months. (See Gilead stock analysis on TipRanks).
“We believe that even in the likely case they are able to derive revenue from remdesivir, it would likely be only for the very near term, and the much more important potential value driver remains GILD’s ability to maintain their HIV leadership and revenue durability long-term” comments RBC Capital analyst Brian Abrahams. He has a buy rating on Gilead and $89 price target.
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