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Updated: February 27, 2020

Drug companies race to test coronavirus vaccines

Gilead Sciences stock was up slightly on Thursday, even as the Dow plunged into correction status.

The reason? The biotech company is moving closer to finding a potential treatment for the deadly coronavirus. It plans to start administering its remdesivir drug to patients next month.

Shares of Gilead Sciences are have rise more than 10% in the past five days as the race to find an effective treatment for the outbreak continues.

It's not alone. The stocks of two smaller biotechs working on coronavirus vaccines -- Moderna and Novavax -- have both soared in the past few days on hopes that their treatments may show some success as well.

Gilead said in a statement late Wednesday that it will be administering its remdesivir drug to "approximately 1,000 patients at medical centers primarily across Asian countries, as well as other countries globally with high numbers of diagnosed cases, beginning in March."

The World Health Organization has said that remdesivir may have the best chance of effectively treating the Wuhan coronavirus.

Gilead said in its statement that it will conduct two randomized studies to evaluate the effectiveness of different dosing durations of remdesivir.

One will be for about 400 patients with severe clinical manifestations of coronavirus. The other will be for about 600 patients with more moderate symptoms. Patients in both groups will receive the drug for either five or 10 days.

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