US pharmaceutical company Gilead Sciences [GILD:US] has halted clinical trials of its antiviral drug Remdesivir in China, both on mild-to-moderate and severe cases of the COVID-19, as the country has well-controlled the epidemic, as reported by The Paper on April 16, citing information on ClinicalTrials.gov. According to Gilead, China-Japan Friendship Hospital, responsible for the Remdesivir clinical trials in the Mainland, told it that it could not recruit eligible COVID-19 patients, and thus prematurely terminated clinical trials. Even so, available clinical data have been collected from the severe patient group and Gilead expected the results to be published soon.
Gilead’s Remdesivir is originally developed for Ebola and regarded as a potential drug to combat the COVID-19, while it has not got marketing approval in any country. Led by the deputy director of China-Japan Friendship Hospital, Cao Bin, the two Remdesivir clinical trial projects were initially scheduled to be completed in late April and early May, respectively. Although the two projects have been stopped, Cao said that 237 severe patients have been enrolled, reaching the sample size required for the interim analysis, and the Chinese hospital now is analyzing clinical data from these patients. As for the mild-to-moderate patient group, the results are expected to be released after this June. From February 19, the number of severe COVID-19 cases in China has been decreasing, around 2,000 as of March 19 and less than 50 by April 15 in the epicenter Hubei province. In addition, the number of existing COVID-19 cases in the country was 1,875 by April 16.