Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top United States infectious disease official, has expressed confidence in biotechnology company Gilead Sciences Inc.’s experimental antiviral drug remdesivir being the “standard of care” for COVID-19.
This comes after preliminary results from a key clinical trial were shown on Wednesday, April 29 that patients given remdesivir recovered 31% faster than those who received a placebo – results that were celebrated by Fauci as “highly significant.” However, Fauci also cautioned that the results of the study still needed to be properly peer-reviewed.
Gilead’s shares rose by more than 5% on Wednesday to close at $83.14 and are up 27% so far this year. As a result, markets also rallied with the S&P 500 gaining nearly 3%.
In response, US President Donald Trump pushed for a crash vaccine program, saying “I want them to go as quickly as they can.” The idea of a program as such would be to accelerate the entire process – create, test, and mass-produce.
However, people within and outside of the administration remain wary of embarking on a rushed approach. Public health experts have warned that expediting the process could undermine the treatment’s effectiveness.
This also comes amid a time when some US states are easing lockdown regulations, with insufficient testing being the main reason others refuse to reopen.
However, in a breakthrough announcement, Mayor Eric Garcetti of Los Angeles tweeted that all residents now have the option of being tested, regardless of whether they are symptomatic or not.