Gilead Sciences slams WHO after trial shows remdesivir not effective in avoiding COVID-19 death

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Gilead Sciences Inc (NASDAQ:GILD) said the Solidarity trial investigating its drug remdesivir in COVID-19 patients was not conducted properly.

The study, led by the World Health Organisation (WHO), proved that the candidate had little to no effect in helping patients’ chances of survival.

The trial, which also involved hydroxychloroquine, lopinavir/ritonavir and interferon regimens, spanned across 30 countries and involved 11,266 adult participants.

Gilead criticised the trial design, claiming its implementation, controls and patient populations were too different from each other.

It said the findings were inconclusive and inconsistent with other studies published in peer-reviewed journals, which suggested that remdesivir cut the recovery time of patients with severe symptoms but did not provide a cure.

The investigational drug received temporary approval by US, UK and Japanese authorities for Covid-19 treatment and was priced at US$390 per vial or US$3,120 for a full treatment course.

It was part of the treatment received by Donald Trump when he was hospitalised with COVID-19 symptoms earlier this month, while last week the EU Commission struck a deal with Gilead to secure 500,000 doses.

This summer the US came under fire after the Department of Health and Human Services bought all treatment available until October, preventing other countries from accessing it.

“This follows a couple of setbacks for vaccine trials lately and highlights the fact we cannot rely on things ‘getting back to normal’ any time soon,” commented Neil Wilson at Markets.com.

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