'Scientists are going to solve it' — Cramer sees a virus drug reducing 'death sentence' worries

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Jim Cramer on CNBC’s Halftime Report.

Scott Mlyn | CNBC

CNBC’s Jim Cramer said Thursday he believes that scientists testing treatments for the new coronavirus will succeed in getting patients “out of the hospital faster” and reducing “death sentence” concerns.

“I think the scientists are going to solve it,” predicted Cramer, who has been advising stock market investors for weeks not to bet against the drug and biotech companies.

“Someone is going to beat this thing, not in a vaccine form, but making it so that it can be more Tamiflu-like and less scary,” he said, referring to the antiviral Tamiflu used to treat seasonal influenza.

There are a number of companies testing antivirals against Covid-19, the disease caused by the virus.

Last week, a report from health-care publication STAT News raised hopes about Remdesivir, an existing experimental drug from Gilead Sciences. STAT News said the University of Chicago’s phase 3 trial using Remdesivir found most coronavirus patients had “rapid recoveries in fever and respiratory symptoms” and were discharged in less than a week. Gilead’s clinical trial results involving patients with severe cases are expected this month.

“I do feel better about what Gilead is doing,” Cramer said on “Squawk on the Street” Thursday.

“One of these things is going to stick as antiviral to get people out of the hospital faster,” he added. “That would be a major change in psychology in this country if you did not think a death sentence meant going to the hospital.”

On the vaccine front, there are also many companies hard at work, including Moderna, whose CEO Stephane Bancel told CNBC last week that the biotech hopes to be “ready commercially” to make a vaccine widely available in the U.S. in 2021.

“Vaccines are far away,” Cramer said, while acknowledging that “Moderna may be in the lead.”

While saying a Covid-19 antiviral would bring down the “fear level” in the U.S., Cramer said, “If we get a vaccine, we will have some degree of normalcy” return to the American way of life.

Despite no vaccine, antiviral or even widespread testing, some states are moving forward with plans to reopen parts of their economies as the rate of new daily infections trends lower. White House health officials have advised against such moves, saying it’s too soon.

U.S. coronavirus cases, the most of any country in the world, surpassed 842,600 with 46,838 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University early Thursday. Globally, there are more than 2.6 million cases and 180,000 fatalities.

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