Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

Report: Gilead Struggling to Find Subjects for COVID-19 Drug Trial

By Eric Volkman - Updated Feb 18, 2020 at 4:22PM

You’re reading a free article with opinions that may differ from The Motley Fool’s Premium Investing Services. Become a Motley Fool member today to get instant access to our top analyst recommendations, in-depth research, investing resources, and more. Learn More

Apparently, the company is more than 500 patients short of the number it sought to evaluate remdesivir against the coronavirus.

Gilead Sciences (GILD -0.06%) appears to have hit another roadblock in its race to defeat COVID-19. The company is reportedly having trouble recruiting enough test subjects for its clinical trial of a drug candidate to fight the coronavirus.

According to an article published Tuesday in The Wall Street Journal, Gilead had intended to involve nearly 800 COVID-19 patients in the trial taking place in Wuhan, China, the city at the epicenter of the disease's outbreak. However, the company has only been able to sign up 185 people who qualify. Of those volunteers, 168 presented with severe symptoms, while the remainder presented with moderate or mild ones.

Close-up of a microscope being used by a medical professional.

Image source: Getty Images

The clinical trials of the pharmaceutical company's antiviral treatment, remdesivir, were first announced Feb. 5. Citing China's state news agency, the Journal said that it was hoped that 761 patients would take part, the bulk of them with severe cases.

All participants were required to test positive for the COVID-19 virus. The severe patients were required to be within 12 days of the onset of COVID-19 symptoms, and have not taken medication for it within the preceding 30 days. The moderate and mild trial subjects had to be within eight days of the onset of the illness. Those requirements might be limiting the patient pool for the trial, as apparently many people with symptoms have already begun taking treatments.

Remdesivir was originally developed to treat the Ebola and Marburg viruses, although it has proven relatively ineffective against the former. 

Gilead has not yet officially responded to the article, but the report does not seem to be of great concern to investors. The company's stock closed Tuesday trading less than 1% lower. 

Eric Volkman has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Gilead Sciences. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Invest Smarter with The Motley Fool

Join Over 1 Million Premium Members Receiving…

  • New Stock Picks Each Month
  • Detailed Analysis of Companies
  • Model Portfolios
  • Live Streaming During Market Hours
  • And Much More
Get Started Now

Stocks Mentioned

Gilead Sciences, Inc. Stock Quote
Gilead Sciences, Inc.
GILD
$66.29 (-0.06%) $0.04

*Average returns of all recommendations since inception. Cost basis and return based on previous market day close.

Related Articles

Motley Fool Returns

Motley Fool Stock Advisor

Market-beating stocks from our award-winning analyst team.

Stock Advisor Returns
402%
 
S&P 500 Returns
129%

Calculated by average return of all stock recommendations since inception of the Stock Advisor service in February of 2002. Returns as of 08/17/2022.

Discounted offers are only available to new members. Stock Advisor list price is $199 per year.

Premium Investing Services

Invest better with The Motley Fool. Get stock recommendations, portfolio guidance, and more from The Motley Fool's premium services.