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Gilead surges wild­ly as world scram­bles to counter a like­ly coro­n­avirus pan­dem­ic while GSK pitch­es in on vac­cine R&D cam­paign

Gilead shares soared af­ter sug­gest­ing that one of its an­tivi­rals could help counter the rapid­ly spread­ing Wuhan coro­n­avirus, which has now in­fect­ed thou­sands of peo­ple in Chi­na and killed more than 300.

The biotech an­nounced late Fri­day that it’s work­ing with Chi­nese au­thor­i­ties to start a ran­dom­ized con­trolled tri­al to test remde­sivir, the drug they at­tempt­ed but ul­ti­mate­ly failed to push for ebo­la, as a treat­ment for 2019-nCoV. The news trig­gered a 12% spike for the stock $GILD pre-mar­ket — a fre­net­ic gain for a com­pa­ny with a mar­ket cap near $80 bil­lion that comes just as as US health of­fi­cials con­firmed the like­li­hood of a glob­al pan­dem­ic.

As a glob­al R&D ef­fort to whip up a fast vac­cine — which Glax­o­SmithK­line has just joined — grows, some drug­mak­ers (and in­vestors) are hop­ing a ther­a­peu­tic, es­pe­cial­ly one that’s been de­ployed in hu­mans be­fore, could pro­vide faster re­lief and reap huge prof­its.

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