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Alfie Evans, terminally ill British toddler, dies after UK doctors remove life support

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The parents of a terminally ill British toddler whose case drew attention from Pope Francis and others around the world say they are “heartbroken” that their son has died.

Kate James and Tom Evans said on Facebook that 23-month-old Alfie Evans, who had an incurable degenerative brain condition and was at the center of a legal battle over his treatment, died on Saturday morning.

Doctors treating Alfie said further treatment was futile and he should be allowed to die, but his parents — backed by the pope and Christian groups — fought for months to take him to a hospital in Italy so he could be kept on life support.

The hospital withdrew Alfie’s life support Monday after a series of court rulings sided with doctors.



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Stock futures rise slightly as traders monitor stimulus talks, debate ahead

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An artist name Theodore Tsinias who wrapped himself next to the Charging Bull to show his attention about world’s behavior amid Covid-19 pandemic in Lower Manhattan, New York City, United States on May 25, 2020.

Tayfun Coskin | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

U.S. stock futures rose on Thursday night as Wall Street weighed the potential for additional fiscal stimulus, news on the earnings and coronavirus treatment fronts while awaiting the final U.S. presidential debate.

Dow Jones Industrial Average futures were up by 44 points, or 0.2%. S&P 500 futures gained 0.1% and Nasdaq 100 futures traded higher by 0.2%.

Intel shares fell more than 9% in after-hours trading following the release of mixed quarterly numbers for the chip maker. The company’s earnings were in line with analyst expectations, but revenue from its data center business fell short of analyst estimates.

Meanwhile, Gilead Sciences gained 4% after the Food and Drug Administration approved the company’s drug, remdesivir, for use as a treatment against the coronavirus.

The Dow and S&P 500 each gained 0.5% during regular trading while the Nasdaq Composite advanced 0.2% after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi signaled she and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin were making progress in their fiscal stimulus negotiations.

“If we were not making progress, I wouldn’t spend five seconds in these conversations. … This is not anything other than I think a serious attempt. I do believe that both sides want to reach an agreement,” Pelosi said.

However, Pelosi also tempered expectations over Democrats and Republicans reaching a deal before the election, saying it could take “a while” for a bill to be written and signed.

Traders have been keeping an eye on Washington in recent weeks as they gauge the prospects for new coronavirus aid to be pushed through. Several market experts and economists, including Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell, think it is imperative that lawmakers reach a deal on another stimulus package.

“Governmental powers are still trying to put together another economic relief package,” said Jim Paulsen, chief investment strategist at The Leuthold Group. “However, despite the July expiration of unemployment benefits provided by the CARES Act, here, two-and-a-half months later, U.S. economic momentum is remarkably healthy.”

Paulsen’s comment came after the release of much better-than-expected U.S. unemployment data on Thursday.

Thursday’s moves came ahead of the second debate between President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden. The debate is set to start at 9 p.m. ET and will be the last one before the Nov. 3 presidential election.

Biden holds a lead in most national polls heading into the debate as the possibility for a so-called Blue Wave grows. Some market experts a Democratic sweep could lead to a pop in equity prices in the short term. However, legendary hedge fund manager Paul Tudor Jones warned Thursday that this scenario could pressure stocks in the long term.

“I think under a blue wave, and the Biden tax plan, financial assets over the long run suffer a great deal,” he said on CNBC’s “Squawk Box.”

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GM shares close at new year-to-date high following Hummer EV debut

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Coronavirus treatment from Gilead approved by FDA

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The Food and Drug Administration on Thursday approved Gilead Sciences‘ antiviral drug remdesivir as a treatment for the coronavirus.

In May, the FDA granted the drug an emergency use authorization, allowing hospitals and doctors to use it on patients hospitalized with the disease even though the medication had not been formally approved by the agency. The intravenous drug has helped shorten the recovery time of some hospitalized Covid-19 patients. It was one of the drugs used to treat President Donald Trump, who tested positive for the virus earlier this month.

The drug will be used for Covid-19 patients at least 12 years old and requiring hospitalization, Gilead said. Remdesivir is now the first and only fully approved treatment in the U.S. for Covid-19, which has infected more than 41.3 million people worldwide and killed more than 1 million, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

Shares of Gilead were up more than 5% in after-hours trading.

“Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Gilead has worked relentlessly to help find solutions to this global health crisis,” Gilead CEO Daniel O’Day said in a statement. “It is incredible to be in the position today, less than one year since the earliest case reports of the disease now known as COVID-19, of having an FDA-approved treatment in the U.S. that is available for all appropriate patients in need.”

Remdesivir is approved or authorized for temporary use as a Covid-19 treatment in approximately 50 countries worldwide, according to the company.

The drug is administered in a hospital setting via an IV. The company said the drug should only be administered in a hospital or in a health-care setting capable of providing acute care comparable to inpatient hospital care.

Earlier this month, a study coordinated by the World Health Organization had indicated that the drug had “little or no effect” on death rates among hospitalized patients. Still, the drug has shown to be modestly effective in reducing the recovery time in some hospitalized patients.

Earlier in the year, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious disease expert, said the drug would set “a new standard of care” for Covid-19 patients.

The majority of patients treated with remdesivir receive a five-day treatment course using six vials of intravenous the drug. The company is also developing an inhaled version of the drug, which it will administer through a nebulizer, a delivery device that can turn liquid medicines into mist. The company has said the drug can’t be administered in pill form because its chemical makeup would impact the liver.

In August, the company said it planned to produce more than 2 million treatment courses of the drug by the end of the year and anticipated being able to make “several million more” in 2021, adding it has increased the supply of the drug more than fiftyfold since January. Its manufacturing network now includes more than 40 companies in North America, Europe and Asia.

The company said Thursday it is meeting real-time demand for the drug in the United States and anticipates meeting global demand in October, even in the event of potential future surges of Covid-19 cases.

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