Gilead, the pharmaceutical company behind a potential cure for the Chinese virus derived their name from a largely overlooked passage in the Bible.
A Gilead spokesperson told Jewish Insider that their name is sourced from a plant that was referenced in the Bible in the book of Jeremiah:
Is there no balm in Gilad? Can no physician be found? Why has healing not yet Come to my poor people? (Jeremiah 8:22)
As the Israel Bible explains:
Gilad is located on the plains of Jordan, across the river from Yerushalayim, and was famous for its medicines. The commentators understand this balm as a metaphor — righteousness and good deeds could have healed the people, but they were too distant.
It was also mentioned earlier in the book of Genesis 37:25:
Then they sat down to a meal. Looking up, they saw a caravan of Ishmaelites coming from Gilad, their camels bearing gum, balm, and ladanum to be taken to Egypt. (Genesis 37:25)
On Sunday, Bloomberg reported that Gilead Sciences Inc. is said to be donating 1.5 million doses of its experimental anti-coronavirus treatment remdesivir. That amount could treat 140,000 cases.
“Our logo incorporates a leaf and a shield to symbolize our efforts to use a long tradition of healing with modern biopharmaceutical science to protect and improve the lives of people suffering from life-threatening diseases worldwide,” spokesman Chris Ridley said. “The leaf symbolizes life, healing and growth. The shield symbolizes strength, safety, security, honor and tradition.”