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A team of a dozen executives at drugmaker Gilead Sciences Inc. GILD, -1.29% meets daily to discuss the coronavirus epidemic in China and the company’s cross-continental scramble to develop the first drug for the new disease.
If the company’s drug succeeds in studies in China, it could become the first treatment proven to work against a respiratory virus that has killed more than 1,000 people and infected some 42,600 in fewer than three months.
There are some positive albeit preliminary signs, notably the recovery of a 35-year-old man in Washington state whose condition rapidly improved after receiving the drug and who was recently discharged from the hospital.
“We’ve done this long enough that we know it could be an antidote,” says Gilead’s chief medical officer, Merdad Parsey, cautioning that the result could be a false positive and that the drug could fail in broader testing.
An expanded version of this story appears on WSJ.com