As most of the U.S. stock market flounders amid a massive global flight from risk assets, one stock briefly led the S&P 500 with an astonishing 3.4% rally. Gilead Sciences (NASDAQ: GILD) defied the coronavirus slump after the World Health Organization praised its remdesivir drug as a leading candidate to help fight the global health crisis.
With all three of the major U.S. stock market indices down more than 3%, Monday was a terrible day for Wall Street bulls.
For those investors brave enough to dive into the biotech wars to find a coronavirus treatment, there was some gold to be found. Gilead Sciences has emerged as the front runner in providing a drug to combat the disease, according to the WHO’s Bruce Aylward.
Hopes were already high for remdesivir after Gilead claimed that there were optimistic signs based on its animal tests.
Remdesivir has demonstrated in vitro and in vivo activity in animal models against the viral pathogens MERS and SARS, which are also coronaviruses and are structurally similar to COVID-19.
The limited preclinical data on remdesivir in MERS and SARS indicate that remdesivir may have potential activity against COVID-19.
Given that some of these results were on monkeys, which have a close correlation with human genetics, investors are banking on the possibility that this drug, which has been used to help treat HIV and Cholera, gets fast-tracked to human trials.
The coronavirus has now infected around 80,000 people globally, but it’s the disease’s spread outside of China that has spooked the S&P 500 so much.
Outside of stocks, the fear in the marketplace looks very real as the price of gold rallies aggressively alongside the safe-haven Japanese yen. Demonstrating concerns about growth, crude oil took a monster 5% hit as global trade continued to struggle.
South Korea is dealing with a parabolic spike in infections, while northern Italy is on lockdown after a seventh death. The quarantine threatens the most important financial hub of one of the eurozone’s wealthiest nations.
It’s clear that the upside for Gilead Sciences stock is enormous if they can prove that remdesivir works before another drugmaker develops an effective treatment.
But that’s still a big if.
Until then, the move higher in GILD only marks speculative optimism, with the potential for a far more significant spike.
Disclaimer: This article represents the author’s opinion and should not be considered investment or trading advice from CCN.com.
This article was edited by Josiah Wilmoth.