‘Remdesivir is just what the doctor ordered’

CNBC’s Jim Cramer on Wednesday grew more optimistic about America’s ability to safely resume business activity after hearing welcoming news about an antiviral’s potential to fight coronavirus from Gilead Sciences.

Preliminary results of a clinical trial studying the effects of remdesivir on Covid-19 returned positive data in helping patients recover from the contagion.

“For the true skeptics, I know how hard it is to believe that such a seemingly insignificant clinical trial of some old off-the-shelf drug could have this kind of positive impact,” the “Mad Money” host said. “This drug makes a big difference, especially if you were worried about a second wave of infections after we reopened the economy.”

Stocks jumped on the news, carrying the Dow Jones Industrial Average 532 points, or 2.21%, higher, the S&P 500 2.66% higher and the Nasdaq Composite 3.57% higher.

With some states authorizing nonessential businesses to gradually reopen and others preparing to reopen their economies in coming weeks, officials, investors and the general public have been concerned whether lifting quarantine orders will lead to a spike in new coronavirus infections. Most of the country has spent more than the past month under shelter-in-place orders intended to slow the spread of the deadly virus.

Remdesivir, which has been found to be effective in treating SARS and MERS, two other diseases caused by coronaviruses, is seen as one probable solution to help severely ill Covid-19 patients recover from the virus more quickly.

“Remdesivir is just what the doctor ordered,” Cramer said.

Officials continue to call for increasing coronavirus testing capacities and for contact tracing as part of plans to safely resume business activity. Numerous drugmakers are also working on a Covid-19 vaccine, but a vaccination is not expected to be available for at least another year.

The remdesivir trials drew praise from White House health advisor and respected immunologist Dr. Anthony Fauci who said it was “quite good news” and that the study showed a “clear-cut positive effect in diminishing time to recover.”

Fauci, the long-time director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health, has warned on Tuesday that the U.S. “could be in for a bad fall” if an effective treatment was not found to mitigate a possible future outbreak later this year.

The U.S. government has taken drastic measures to slow the spread of the deadly virus to prevent medical centers from becoming overwhelmed with Covid-19 patients. More than 1 million people have tested positive of the disease and more than 60,000 have died of coronavirus complications in the U.S. alone, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

“That’s why the market roared higher today, and make no mistake, this move was all about remdesivir,” Cramer said of Wednesday’s rally. “I can say that with confidence because we’re right in the middle of earnings season and Wall Street hasn’t exactly been thrilled with many of these reports.”

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