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Gilead Sciences is working on making remdesivir easier to use. That's the bipharmaceutical company's antiviral treatment for COVID-19 that so far has been the only drug that has been shown to help patients suffering from the virus.
The company confirmed it is researching an inhaled version but declined to elaborate.
Company executives have told Wall Street analysts that in the longer term, Gilead is exploring dry powder versions to be inhaled as well as a formulation that is injected under the skin. It won't take the shape of a pill because its chemical makeup would degrade in the liver.
In the short term, Gilead is studying how its existing intravenous formulation can be diluted so it can be used with a device that'll administer it as a mist inhaled into the lungs. The coronavirus attacks the lungs, and the nebulizer would make remdesivir more directly available to the upper airway and lung tissue. This would allow patients who are not hospitalized to get early treatment.
Shares of Gilead Sciences extended their decline Tuesday morning. Investors sent the shares lower Monday when the company reported that intravenous remdesivir in trials provided a modest benefit for hospitalized patients suffering from moderate COVID-19.