On Monday, Gilead Sciences (NASDAQ:GILD) announced results from a phase 3 clinical trial evaluating remdesivir in treating hospitalized patients with moderate cases of COVID-19. The company stated that patients receiving a 5-day course of treatment with remdesivir plus the standard of care were 65% more likely to experience clinical improvement at day 11 than patients receiving the standard of care alone. 

What it means

The results for remdesivir are encouraging in that they show that early intervention with remdesivir can help patients with moderate cases of COVID-19. Gilead previously announced positive results from another phase 3 study of the antiviral drug in patients with severe cases of the novel coronavirus. The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases also conducted a late-stage study that showed early treatment with remdesivir led to improved clinical outcomes.

Magnifying glass over blocks spelling remdesivir

Image source: Getty Images.

In addition, the safety profile for remdesivir appeared to be consistent with these previous studies. Gilead reported that the drug was generally well-tolerated; the most common adverse events included nausea, diarrhea, and headache.

However, the results from the latest study weren't quite as good as had been hoped for. The 10-day treatment course of remdesivir showed some clinical improvement compared to standard of care, but didn't reach statistical significance.

What's next

Gilead stated that it plans to submit the full data from its phase 3 study for publication in a peer-reviewed scientific journal within the next few weeks. The company is also conducting an expansion phase of the study that will enroll up to 1,000 additional patients. The results from that next phase are expected within the next few months.