Why Your Favorite ‘Coronavirus Stock’ Just Took Wall Street on a Nasty Ride

  • Gilead Sciences’ promising coronavirus drug made waves last week.
  • Today, leaked WHO documents showed it flopped in a 237-person trial.
  • Gilead was quick to downplay the trial as too small to be conclusive. But the firm wasn’t so conscientious about last week’s much smaller trial.

The U.S. stock market ended Thursday flat after suffering a wild wobble midway through the session. The culprit? Every retail investor’s favorite coronavirus stock – Gilead Sciences.

The Financial Times reported that the most promising coronavirus treatment – remdesivir – failed in a clinical trial. Patient conditions did not improve, and neither did their blood viral load. The report came from leaked World Health Organization documents accidentally published on the WHO’s website.

Everyone’s favorite “coronavirus stock” took Wall Street on a wild ride today. | Source: Yahoo Finance

As a result, the Dow Jones Industrial Average shed the 400-point gain it built early in the session.

Equities bounced back briefly after Gilead said the leaked WHO report mischaracterized the test results, but investors quickly soured on what executives had to say. Here’s why:

Gilead’s Response Didn’t Tell Investors Anything New

The Financial Times report on Gilead’s coronavirus treatment said:

The Chinese trial showed remdesivir — developed by California-based Gilead Sciences — did not improve patients’ condition or reduce the pathogen’s presence in the bloodstream.

Further, the WHO had specifics about the trial’s size and results:

Researchers studied 237 patients, giving the drug to 158 and comparing their progress with the remaining 79. The drug also showed significant side effects in some, which meant 18 patients were taken off it.

In response, a spokesperson for Gilead told CNBC:

We believe the post included inappropriate characterizations of the study. Importantly, because this study was terminated early due to low enrollment, it was underpowered to enable…

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