Gilead Sciences (GILD) stock surged and reached an all-time high after the company confirmed the launching of phase 3 studies of coronavirus treatment.
Gilead Sciences Inc (NASDAQ: GILD), an American biotech company that specializes in researching, developing and commercializing drugs, has seen its stock surge after it announced the launching of phase 3 studies for naval coronavirus (COVID-19) treatment. The stock price broke a very critical resistant level at $68 to trade above $70.
Amid the coronavirus outbreak, Gilead Sciences stock has started to achieve new highs. Though yesterday GILD closed at $72.66 (-2.73%), in the pre-market it is gaining again. At the time of writing, it is 0.88% up. Its price is $73.30.
For the past ten months, the GILD stock has been trading horizontally, after defying the downtrend that had dominated the better part of the last decade. The biotech company has been at the forefront in creating antiviral drugs which are mostly used in HIV, hepatitis B and C treatment and others.
After the deadly coronavirus broke in Wuhan China last year December, it has now spread all over the world claiming a lot of lives. The devastating nature of the virus has seen the stock market also suffer significantly.
In a research made on the coronavirus, it showed that the virus has similar traits as that from HIV, which does not have a cure but only treatment to suppress its effects. However, the coronavirus is attacking a different body system than HIV does. It leaves a begging question if the virus is an advancement of the HIV made as biotech warfare.
From that basis, Gilead has taken advantage of using their study of HIV treatment to further advance finding a cure for COVID-19. In a report from the company made on Thursday, the company said that its nascent coronavirus treatment will undergo an advance human testing in Asia.
According to the company, around 1,000 coronavirus victims from Asia region who are suffering from the virus will receive varying doses of the remdesivir as part of the study. Remdesivir has been recognized by the World Health Organization after it said that the drug may be the only one right now that may have real efficacy in treating COVID-19.
As coronavirus continues spreading fears all over the world with more countries confirming new cases, the rush for a vaccine and cure is pushing biotech companies to the limit. As of Friday morning, Nigeria confirmed its first COVID-19 case, becoming the first sub-Saharan country in Africa to test a victim with the virus. In total, over 80,000 cases have been officially confirmed worldwide and counting.
It leaves Gilead with other biotech companies with the advantage of coming up with a drug that will treat the deadly virus. The drug from the company has also been used by the U.S. doctors in treating the first domestic coronavirus case, although not yet approved.
If the phase three test comes out positive, it will be a huge breakthrough for the company which might see its stock soar even much higher. It actually might be the beginning of the sharp uptrend that will come in the near future.
Gilead launches remdesivir’s Phase III trials in Covid-19 patients
Gilead Sciences has commenced two Phase III clinical trials of its investigational antiviral drug, remdesivir, for the treatment of Covid-19 in adults.
This announcement comes after the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) accepted and reviewed the company’s investigational new drug (IND) application for remdesivir in this indication.
The randomised, open-label, multi-centre studies will assess the safety and efficacy of the drug in nearly 1,000 patients. A five-day and ten-day dosing regimen of an intravenous formulation of remdesivir will be tested.
The trials will mainly be conducted at sites in Asian countries impacted by the coronavirus outbreak. From March, sites will be added in other countries with a higher number of confirmed cases.
One of the trials will enrol around 400 patients with severe clinical manifestations of the novel coronavirus disease, while the second trial will involve about 600 patients with moderate clinical manifestations.
In addition to standard of care, participants will be given a 200mg dose of the drug on day one, followed by a 100mg dose every day until day five or ten.
Both trials will evaluate clinical improvement as the primary endpoint.
The primary endpoint in the first trial will be measured by the normalisation of fever and oxygen saturation. The second trial will record the measure based on the proportion of patients discharged by day 14.
Gilead Sciences chief medical officer Merdad Parsey said: “Gilead’s primary focus is on rapidly determining the safety and efficacy of remdesivir as a potential treatment for Covid-19, and this complementary array of studies helps to give us a more expansive breadth of data globally on the drug’s profile in a short amount of time.”
Look, that took alot of great writing, imagination, understanding of where this civilisation is going… and it was timed perfectly!
It complemented Alan Moors graphic novel… … Well pretty well? 🤔 (Considering)
I really did rate it as a TV show… As a Watchmen fan.
But, if Sky Atlantic want to run with it, seasonly… it can easily trip up on itself here, it can become tangled and/or really fucking boring… … And NOT what real Watchmen fans want… Not what they need! (Fuck the money!)
Wait five years or so (at least)… Let’s see what happens with this society, this culture… let’s put some thought into this! Let’s WATCH what happens in the next few years… geopolitically, societally, culturally… let’s see WATCH what events unfold!
It’s like giving a woman an orgasm… make her wait! Tease her, take you’re time, wait until you know what buttons to push and when, tie her up 😏, pull out, put it back in, make her think it’s never going to happen, make her beg for it to happen… Like she’s going to die if it doesn’t… … Then BOOM! 😎
“It could be like a cheap Australian Sci Fi apocalypse movie from the 80’s… Where the worlds children kill all the adults with an infectious disease that their immune to… And then they wander the outback wasteland, doing whatever they want. 😃 With weird haircuts… Mullets, and skateboards, and shit 80’s music”
Among the many, many unknowns about the new coronavirus: What role do children play in transmission of the virus that causes Covid-19 disease?
It’s a question that public health experts would love an answer to. Knowing whether kids are innocent bystanders, getting infected if someone brings the virus into their households, or are in fact a population that is stealthily driving this epidemic, would give response planners critical ammunition to use in the battle against the virus.
What’s at stake are decisions about policies that can be hugely disruptive to families and workplaces. Should schools be closed to slow spread when the virus enters new terrain, forcing parents to scramble for child care alternatives or stay home? Should long-term care facilities discourage families from bringing young children to visit grandparents or other aging relatives.
Though the evidence to date suggests this virus doesn’t inflict severe disease on children, there’s reason to think kids may be helping to amplify transmission. It’s a role they play to devastating effect during flu season, becoming ill and passing flu viruses on to their parents, grandparents, teachers, and caregivers.
While the new virus is from a different viral family, its behavior is more like influenza than its coronavirus cousins, SARS and MERS, making experts wonder if it is doing the same.
“Flu is clearly driven in part by schools. And we don’t understand what goes on with coronaviruses and kids — especially this coronavirus,” said Marc Lipsitch, an infectious diseases epidemiologist at Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
School closures could become a reality if the U.S. sees sustained transmission of the virus, said Nancy Messonnier, director of CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases. She urged parents this week to do some homework on whether their children’s schools are considering closing if and when the virus starts circulating in their communities, and how those dismissals would be handled.
“All of these questions can help you be better prepared for what might happen,” said Messonnier, adding that she had contacted the superintendent of the local school district where her children go to school to ask about closures.
When news broke in early January that a new virus was spreading rapidly in — and later from — China, parents flooded social media platforms looking for guidance about how serious the threat was to children.
Initial predictions, which have been backed up by data from China, were reassuring. These viruses can be brutal on older adults — particularly the elderly. But for some as yet unexplained reason, children appear to be spared the worst of the disease.
“Coronaviruses in general have a striking age-related disease [pattern],” said Ralph Baric, a leading coronavirus expert at the University of North Carolina. “So the older you are, the more likely you’re going to get severe disease.”Related:
The largest study of cases from China to date illustrates that point graphically. Published by the China CDC earlier this month, it describes more than 44,000 confirmed cases. There were few detected infections among children aged 9 and younger — only 416 or about 1% of the total cases. None of them died.
Even cases among children and teens aged 9 to 19 were rare; there were 549 cases in that group, representing 1.2% of the entire study group. There was a single death in that age group. By contrast, 20% of the roughly 1,400 people 80 and older who contracted the disease died.
It’s not clear whether the low detection rates among young children means those infections are indeed rare, or if they are mild enough that they tend to escape detection. Baric noted several case studies from China that showed a low number of children who, although they tested positive, didn’t have obvious disease. However, CT scans revealed changes in their lungs that are characteristic to this infection.
“It’s not that they’re not getting infection. They’re not getting disease. They’re not getting sick,” said Malik Peiris, a coronavirus expert at Hong Kong University.Related:
Peiris and Baric both think children are probably playing a role in spreading the virus.
“If they are infected, there is no reason to believe that they will not transmit,” said Peiris.
“There’s no evidence for any of this, but given the available data, that is quite a plausible scenario that one needs to think about.”
School closures are one of the tools public health officials often reach for — or at least contemplate — when infectious diseases spread. More than 1,300 schools in 240 communities in the United States closed schools for a time in the early days of the 2009 influenza pandemic, caused by the H1N1 virus.
The CDC had initially recommended that schools close for seven days — it later expanded it to 14 days — if infections started cropping up among their students. Within a few weeks though, when it started to become apparent the virus caused mainly mild disease, the CDC dropped the school closure recommendation. Despite that, as the pandemic progressed, school closures continued to occur — to proactively stem the spread of disease, or because so many staff or students were sick that it didn’t make sense to keep the school open.
The evidence is mixed on how well school closures work to change the course of an outbreak, like delaying the onset or decreasing its peak. Either outcome would make it easier for the health system to handle.
“To some degree, the jury is out on this strategy overall,” said Jeff Duchin, a public health official in Seattle and King County and an infectious diseases professor at the University of Washington.Related:
It also isn’t clear on how long school closures should last. By and large, most school closures are relatively short, stretching only a few days.
There are questions, too, about how practical it is to stop kids from gathering simply by shutting down schools. Some studies and polls have suggested that children often gather in other locations — like libraries and shopping malls — when schools are closed, potentially cutting into any impact a closure might have.
“How long can you keep schools closed and not expect children to gather elsewhere?” Duchin said.
In one poll of 523 parents whose children’s schools were closed during 2009 H1N1 outbreak, 90% said agreed with the decision, many saying they believed closures were an effective way to reduce transmission of the flu.
But the closures can also take a significant toll, particularly among low-income families. In the same poll, nearly 20% said their child missed free or reduced-cost school meals. Another 20% said they had to miss work.
Only a small fraction of parents said the closures were a major problem, but the disruption remains a consideration for health and education officials as they weigh closures in future outbreaks.
“We would really worry about low-income families who have less financial resilience,” said Gillian SteelFisher, a health policy researcher at Harvard who conducted the poll and who studies the public response to health crises.
If the U.S. saw sustained transmission of the coronavirus, experts said it would be critical for schools to communicate clearly about the reason for the closures — and the need for kids to stay at home and not congregate in other places.
I’m looking for any history of Arab martial arts and fighting styles? Can’t find any thus far… there must have been something back in the days past.
Sword fighting? They wielded the sabre… and history shows they must have been quite effective and deadly with it… but again, no real history of techniques, stances, styles?
C’mon now Arabia… What’s going on?
The infrastructure of Expo 2020 Dubai: creating a complete city
In October 2020, Dubai will welcome the world to Expo 2020. But before then, a whole city and its infrastructure are being created.
Ahmed Al Khatib
Ahmed Al Khatib is the Chief Development and Delivery Officer for Expo 2020 Dubai. He oversees the delivery and management of the site’s masterplan, including its supporting utilities. This includes infrastructure services, roads, networks and transportation. He is also an important driver of the sustainability of the site. He spoke to Blooloop about managing such a large project.
Ahmed Al Khatib has a strong background in civil engineering and has worked on many well-known projects in and around Dubai during his career. He obtained his bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering from a University in the United States, before studying for a Management Certificate at the London Business School.
“I started working on the roads, bridges and infrastructure in Dubai,” he says. “I was involved in a lot of mega-projects in the area. For example, the airport tunnel in Dubai, and The Palm Jumeirah Gateway Bridge.
“Then I moved on to work for [global investment holding company] Dubai Holding on national and international projects, before moving to Dubai World Trade Centre, where I was engaged with several other large projects.”
Ahmed Al Khatib and the infrastructure of Expo 2020 Dubai
Given the size of the site and the scale of the projects, this is not a task for the faint-hearted. Ahmed Al Khatib explains why it is a challenge:
“In 2011, I became involved with Expo 2020 Dubai during the pre-bid stage, so I was part of the team that put together the masterplan for the World Expo. After we won the bid, I carried forward the mission. It is currently my job to work through the masterplan and actually bring the design and construction to life.”
“The site is 4.38 square km and I oversee 33 projects within the larger project. Those projects vary, from infrastructure and phone substations to roads and power. Many elements of this are located underground, so this had to be well prepared before the bigger construction starts.”
“We also have to consider the buildings, spread over that footprint of the site. There are smaller structures and iconic buildings, such as the three Thematic Pavilions and Al Wasl Plaza.
“We are also building parks, a shopping mall and the Expo Village. There are a lot of moving elements, as well as a lot of logistical challenges. Since day one, we have been aware of the size and the magnitude of this challenge, so we prepared very well. And we always keep updating our logistics plans and our risk registers to stay cautious and aware of any new possible challenges that we might face.”
“The size of the project and its logistics, the coordination and the interfaces between all those projects is probably the most challenging part of the job.”
Added to the sheer size and complexity of the site, there is also the challenge of the local environment. For example, the extreme desert heat during the peak of summer.
“Now, the weather is amazing in Dubai,” says Ahmed Al Khatib. “But we also have our hot summer season. We have strict working hours during the summertime, which we have to stick to by law. The workers don’t work in exposed areas directly in the sun, and we limit their working hours. It’s all moving very well so far.”
A large infrastructure
Ahmed Al Khatib’s role for Expo 2020 Dubai involves coordinating several different projects and stakeholders, in order to make the masterplan a reality. How does he manage all these different elements?
“The size of the project and the number of contractors and subcontractors on site is massive,” he says. “We reached our peak at more than 41,000 workers on site. So you can imagine the amount of coordination is huge.
“In order to manage it all, we made sure that we had the right team and the right expertise in place from the start. We also have two levels within our project: we have the programme level and we have the project level.”
“The programme level involves high-level monitoring. This stitches all the smaller projects together into one programme. Meanwhile, the more detailed project-level contains all the schedules. We use the latest software and technology to help us to manage this.
“The design interface is a very important component because any errors or clashes in the design will hold us up and we have a fixed deadline so everything has to be right the first time.”
“We have created a digital ‘twin city’ to assist us during the infrastructure construction process,” says Ahmed Al Khatib. “The digital city echoes the real masterplan and the real site. When we run the software, it detects all the clashes and all the overlaps. It can identify level differences and any design errors that are within the data we put in.”
“We are able to detect any faults early – before we issue any construction drawings and before we appoint a contractor. This means that once the contractor is on board, we have a watertight design, which helps us to save costs and time.”
Ahmed Al Khatib and sustainability
Sustainability is more than just one of Expo 2020’s subthemes. It is a way of thinking that has underpinned the whole project from the beginning, as Ahmed Al Khatib explains:
“Sustainability has always been very important to us since we first started designing the masterplan. Our hope is that by the completion of the project and the World Expo, we will have succeeded in introducing new practices and new innovations related to sustainability. We want to be able to roll those out across the country.
“We developed 41 key performance indicators related to sustainability. For example, in terms of construction, we developed sustainability materials guidelines. All our designers and contractors must implement those guidelines.”
It’s clear that this World Expo project takes this commitment to sustainability seriously, right down to the construction of its infrastructure.
“In 2018, we managed to divert 300,000 tonnes of construction waste away from landfill by recycling and reusing it. We also use about 30 per cent less water in our concrete construction mixture.”
“More than 100 buildings across the Expo 2020 site are on track to achieve LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Gold certification, or higher. Buildings including the Sustainability Pavilion are designed to meet LEED Platinum certification.”
“The Sustainability Pavilion generates about 4 gigawatts of power per year. This is enough to power the building and to provide excess power to the grid. The building also generates its own water from the humidity in the air, and this is used for irrigation and for greywater.”
Alongside Sustainability, the other two subthemes are Opportunity and Mobility. These sit beneath Expo 2020 Dubai’s main theme of ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the Future’. How all three subthemes connect, has been at the forefront – right from the start of the masterplan, too.”
“Mobility is about the history of movement,” says Ahmed Al Khatib. “Not only in relation to shipments or transport, but also the movement of people, and the movement of information or data.
“Opportunity is about unlocking the potential in people. There are so many people around the world who have a lot of ideas and creativity but they need guidance and support. Opportunity is a very wide-reaching theme and also includes business opportunities.
“Our masterplan looks like three petals. If you draw three circles that intersect together, they form three petals. Each petal represents one of the subthemes. There is an area in the centre where they overlap: this is the connection point.”
“On our map, that connection point is where Al Wasl Plaza is located – an area that connects the three subthemes together. An iconic architectural marvel, Al Wasl Plaza is going to be where the opening and closing ceremonies, main events and special day celebrations take place during Expo 2020.
“Al Wasl means ‘the connection’ in Arabic, and it is also the old name of Dubai. So it works perfectly with the main theme, ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the Future.”
Countdown to the next World Expo
Expo 2020 Dubai opens on 20 October 2020. While the world waits to see the spectacle unfold, how is the site looking from the ground?
“All Expo 2020-led construction of permanent structures is complete and we are on time. This includes 100 per cent of infrastructure, all the power sub-stations, the Thematic Districts, the Al Wasl dome, and others.”
“On 29 January 2020, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, and His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, blessed us with a visit. They inaugurated the Al Wasl dome, which was amazing.”
The Al Wasl dome
“The dome itself is fantastic. It is a 360-degree projection surface but it’s so much more than a screen. It provides an immersive experience and 360-degree projections, using the latest technology. The quality of the images is unreal. Along with the sound system, it provides a one-of-a-kind experience.
“The actual structure of the dome is unique, too. It was a challenge to build. But it was a highlight for me because it is so beautiful. The design reflects the logo of the Expo, as well. It is something that will be a memorable experience for the visitors when they come to Expo – it will always remind them of their trip here.”
“Eighty per cent of the Expo-built structures will stay on as part of District 2020 in the legacy phase. Participating countries who build their own pavilions will be able to dismantle them and take them home to repurpose in their country.”
A very special World Expo
For Ahmed Al Khatib, choosing a favourite part of Expo 2020 Dubai’s site is difficult.
“I love every building,” he says. “I always say it is like asking me which is my favourite child and I love them all, but Al Wasl Plaza is special, definitely. It was a difficult build process, but that makes it even more memorable for me. It’s a huge achievement.”
“Thirteen countries were involved in the building of the dome, from the US, China, Japan, Canada and more, as well as the UAE, so Al Wasl Plaza itself reflects the theme of ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the Future.’
“All these minds from across the world, and here in the UAE, connected through this iconic structure in Dubai. Now the infrastructure is in place, I am looking forward to the opening day when I can just take in the beauty of it all – of the whole Expo coming together.”
Charlotte Coates is Features Editor at Blooloop. She is from Brighton, UK and previously worked as a librarian. She has a strong interest in arts, culture and information and graduated from the University of Sussex with a degree in English Literature. Charlotte can usually be found either with her head in a book or planning her next travel adventure.