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In an unusual move, a pair of academics is escalating an effort to convince Gilead Sciences (GILD) to test a compound that is not only known for saving cats from a fatal virus, but is highly similar to remdesivir and, therefore, may be useful in combating Covid-19.

At issue is a Gilead compound known as GS-441524, which works in the same way as remdesivir to inhibit viruses, according to research conducted partly by the company (more here). The compound has not been tested in humans, but has been sold on black markets to repel feline infectious peritonitis, which is caused by a different coronavirus than the virus that causes Covid-19.

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  • Thanks for staying on this. I wondered what had happened.

    It’s fine that Gilead sets its R&D priorities. It’s not fine to impede others from exploring the potential of this molecule, if it’s not their priority. Surely there’s a deal to be cut ensuring royalties if it works. It might indeed undercut potential remdesivir profits down the road, and that would be a good thing for the world but bad for Gilead. But this molecule would still generate profit, esp. if others bear the costs of showing safety and efficacy, just not maximum profit; in a pandemic, that’s pretty good. If Gilead won’t do it, Sec 1498 of the Patent Act might. Is that being explored?

  • I have been begging the NIH, Gilead, Fujifilm Toyama and Merck to do invitro ICD50 studies on antiviral combinations and then consider a clinical study looking at the safety and ultimately the efficacy of combinations. I may have gotten my point across, but I wish there was some action. A combination of two drugs may be welcome, if safe, more effective and requiring a shorter course.

  • I don’t understand why Gilead doesn’t just license the 524 molecule and let others work with it? By the time anyone makes any progress remdesivir (now “Veklury”) will be established anyway. As it is, it looks like it’s suppressing research and the accumulation of knowledge.

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