Healthcare industry news website STAT reported late Thursday that early data from a clinical trial testing Gilead Sciences' (NASDAQ:GILD) drug remdesivir as a treatment for COVID-19 appear to be very promising. STAT obtained videoconference footage from a meeting with University of Chicago faculty involved in a late-stage study of the antiviral drug.

Of 125 patients enrolled in that section of the larger study, 113 had severe cases of COVID-19. STAT's article stated that nearly all of the patients treated with remdesivir at University of Chicago Medicine had been discharged from the hospital, and only two had died. The report fueled a big stock market jump in after-hours trading Thursday and before the bell Friday, with shares of Gilead Sciences soaring by a double-digit percentage.

Remdesivir pill

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No results for late-stage clinical studies of remdesivir in treating COVID-19 have been officially released by Gilead or any other party. The information reported by STAT is only anecdotal at this point. The University of Chicago said in a statement to STAT that "drawing any conclusions at this point is premature and scientifically unsound."

However, that preliminary information certainly appears to be encouraging. In the video obtained by STAT, Kathleen Mullane, who is leading the remdesivir studies at the university, said that most patients with severe COVID-19 were discharged within six days. 

Gilead Sciences expects to report preliminary data from its late-stage study of remdesivir in patients with severe COVID-19 by the end of April. The biotech should also report results in May from another late-stage study in progress evaluating the drug in patients with more moderate symptoms.