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China trial of Gilead's potential coronavirus treatment suspended

(Reuters) - A trial in China testing Gilead Sciences Inc’s antiviral drug, remdesivir, in those with mild symptoms of COVID-19 has been suspended due to a lack of eligible patients, according to a website maintained by the U.S. government.

FILE PHOTO: A Gilead Sciences Inc. office is shown in Foster City, California, U.S. May 1, 2018. REUTERS/Stephen Lam

Gilead shares, which have risen nearly 20% in year through Tuesday’s close, were down 3% at $75.27

Earlier, another trial in China testing the drug in those with severe COVID-19 was terminated because no eligible patients could be enrolled.

China, where the outbreak is believed to have originated, has been able to control it through tough measures such as lockdowns.

There are currently no approved treatments for COVID-19, the highly contagious respiratory illness caused by the novel coronavirus that has infected over 2 million people worldwide. [nL3N2BY1AH]

The study was conducted by researchers in China and the suspension was posted bit.ly/3bcnyv4 on Wednesday on clinicaltrials.gov, a database maintained by the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Gilead, which is conducting its own trials of the drug, did not immediately respond to Reuters’ request for comment on the latest suspension.

Data published last week showed that more than two-thirds of severely ill COVID-19 patients saw their condition improve after treatment with remdesivir.

That analysis was based on patient observation and the authors of the paper had said it was difficult to interpret because it did not include comparison to a control group. [nL2N2BY0VT]

Gilead expects early data from its trial of the drug in severe patients at the end of April, and data from a trial testing it in patients with moderate symptoms by May.

Reporting by Manas Mishra in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila

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