The following article, Short Sellers Don’t Want Gilead’s Remdesivir to Succeed (Opinion), was first published on Flag And Cross.
We know that the FDA has not approved any drug for the Treatment of COVID-19. We have, however, brought the virus under control through social distancing, masks, and staying home. We have been told that if we had not done these things, millions would have died. We will never know if that is a true statement or not.
I have written many times about the 7,800 people on average who die daily of many different causes in the ordinary course of events. The original coronavirus model forecast that first came out called for a total of 500,000 Brits and 2.3 million Americans who would die from COVID-19. This now has been revised to less than 20,000 Brits and around 60,000 Americans. If these numbers hold, the death rate will about equal a strong flu season. Until now, we never brought the world economy to a halt over any flu pandemic since 1917-18, regardless of the number of deaths.
Most experts believe it will take 12 to 18 months before we have an approved vaccine. Until a vaccine is available, the people of the world will have lingering thoughts about going out and reengaging with their neighbors, friends, and coworkers.
There are many drugs under development that could treat the symptoms and, in some cases, kill the virus so that people could recover. One of those drugs under review was developed by Gilead and is called Remdesivir. It is an antiviral. In simple terms, it seems to prevent the virus from multiplying. As it was explained to me in layman terms, the virus is like the carburetor for an engine. The engine needs fuel and oxygen to run, and if the engine can’t get that fuel and air, it can’t run. Remdesivir blocks the fuel and oxygen from getting into the virus.
The drug has been used successfully in compassionate care use when a person was in danger of dying. Recently, results of two clinical trials appeared first in the New England Journal of Medicine and second, in Time. While both were small trials and didn’t meet the definition of a clinical trial, the results were to my mind amazing. The report said, “Of 125 patients in the University of Chicago Medicine study, 113 had severe disease,” meaning they had difficulty breathing. Kathleen Mullane, a professor of medicine at the university who is overseeing the trial, said “most of the patients taking the drug had improved enough to be discharged from the hospital, and only two died.”
This last study at other institutions was reported after the close of the market on Thursday, April 16, and almost immediately Gilead shot up $13 a share. On Friday morning, I received 6 messages that warned people not to put too much value in the latest report. The stock, while still closing up $7.45 for the day, was down $6 from its overnight high. The 10-day average of share volume was 16.6 million shares. On Friday, the volume was 93.1 million shares.
Was it possible that some of the people who cautioned before the market opened were short overnight and were trying to drive the price of the stock down? They would do this so they could cover the short within a few days and make a great deal of money. For those of you who don’t know, in the trade, this is called talking a stock down.
In full disclosure, my clients and I have owned Gilead for over 10 years. What concerns me is that the people in the world need something to hang on to so that if one got sick, there would be something that could save a life. If the additional clinical trials reporting between now and the end of May have similar results to the ones referred to in this article, Remdesivir will be an economic game-changer for the world. If we know we can kill it before it kills us, we can quickly restore the global economy.
I don’t know what will happen; only time will tell, but all the evidence points to a massive breakthrough. If the other clinical trials prove anywhere near as favorable, the naysayers will recommend the purchase of the stock. By that time, though, the price will be much higher.
This should not be considered a recommendation for the purchase of Gilead stock. Do your own research and talk to your financial advisor to see if Gilead is right for you. One last thing, nobody has paid me to write this article; all investments contain risk.
Dan Perkins is a published author of 4 novels on nuclear and biological terrorism against the United States and is a current events commentator for over 20 news blogs. He appears on radio and TV between 40 and 60 times a month, depending on the news cycles, and on about 1,400 radio stations and TV networks. He is either a guest host or host on 4 weekly syndicated talk shows. Dan’s newest show is called “America’s Cannabis Conversation” on the W420radionetwork.com, a new show that broadcasts Saturday each week at 4:20 PM local time. More information on Perkins can be found at his web site danperkins.guru.
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