Stocks are making big moves today amid positive news from Gilead Sciences that a vaccine for the coronavirus could be in the works.
The biotech company’ stock climbed 6.5% in midday trading Wednesday as the company said that preliminary results of a coronavirus drug trial demonstrated at least 50% of patients treated with a five-day dosage of remdesivir showed an improvement in symptoms, and more than half were released from the hospital within a couple of weeks.
The company also said another trial by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases achieved its primary goal but was unclear as to what that meant.
“These data are encouraging as they indicate that patients who received a shorter, five-day course of remdesivir experienced similar clinical improvement as patients who received a 10-day treatment course,” said Aruna Subramanian, a lead investigator of the study.
Currently, there are no proven treatments for Covid-19, which has spread to over 3 million people worldwide and killed at least 217,000 as of Wednesday morning, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
U.S. health officials project that a vaccine to contain the spread of the disease will take at least a year 18 months, heightening the need to discover an effective drug treatment as soon as possible.
“It’s not going to be a cure, but it is going to be a drug potentially that if you use it particularly early in the course of the disease … it could reduce their chances of having a really bad outcome,” Dr. Scott Gottlieb said.
Stocks are climbing higher on the news after closing lower on Tuesday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average has climbed 2.35% and S&P 500 Index has rallied 2.8% as of roughly 2 pm Wednesday while the Nasdaq Composite has gained almost 3.5%. Markets are now awaiting the FOMC meeting, which is coming shortly.
Stock index ETFs are also climbing amid the news, with the SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (SPY) rallying 2.76%, while the SPDR Dow Jones Industrial Average ETF (DIA) adding 2.33% and the Invesco QQQ Trust (QQQ) up 3.27%.
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