Mesoblast surges on virus drug trial
Shares in pharmaceutical manufacturer Mesoblast have surged by more than 12 per cent after patients were dosed in the second trial of a drug to treat COVID-19 patients.
Researchers have given the drug Remestemcel-L to the first of 300 COVID-19 patients using ventilators in the US.
A previous trial of the drug at a New York hospital helped 10 of 12 patients on ventilators survive.
Dr Alan Moskowitz, who is helping oversee the trial, says it will determine whether the drug can reduce the mortality rate.
Shares in Mesoblast were trading higher by 12.35 per cent to $3.68 at 1421 AEST on Wednesday.
They have increased in value by 75 per cent since January 1.
The company was founded in Melbourne in 2004.
Mesoblast made an emergency application to US authorities to trial the drug.
Remestemcel-L is being developed for a number of inflammatory conditions.
It will take several months to recruit patients for the second trial, which will be conducted across 30 sites in the US.
The US has had more deaths than any country from the virus pandemic: 71,070, according to John Hopkins University data.
Scientists across the world are working on vaccines and treatments for COVID-19.
Gilead Sciences is one company to claim early progress with drug treatment Remdesivir.
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