President Donald Trump, who at the dawn of the coronavirus pandemic said he believed American drug companies could win the race to defeat the pandemic, is living up to that faith by putting his health in the hands of one drugmaker’s experimental drug.
On Friday, Trump received a dose of an experimental antibody drug that has been noted as promising, but still lacks formal approval for use.
Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc. gave Trump one dose of its drug, delivered via an IV, through what’s known as “compassionate use,” which takes place when a drug undergoing trials is used on an emergency basis, according to The Associated Press.
Trump was given the drug Friday at the White House, the AP reported, and has since moved to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center to be monitored.
The idea of the drug is to boost Trump’s ability to fight off the virus. Most young individuals infected do not become seriously ill, but the risk of complications advances with age and underlying conditions.
Trump is “in a race where his immune system is racing against the virus, and if the virus wins you can have dire consequences, obviously, and what our antibodies do is we make it a fair fight,” Dr. Leonard Schleifer, the CEO of Regeneron, told CNN.
“He’s in a higher risk group for a variety of reasons such as being older, and if we give our antibodies, we hope that we will give his immune system enough of a boost so that he can win this and make a complete recovery,” Schleifer said.
“We’ve got a lot of data but we’re still in the experimental phase, but when you’re in the midst of a pandemic and you have people at risk, we think it makes sense to try these,” Schleifer said.
Schleifer projected his confidence in the treatment.
“It’s a large enough dose, so that it’ll last for quite a long time, hopefully even beyond when he’s made a complete recovery,” he said.
“We have evidence ready that these are long lasting in the body, as you’d expect with this type of therapy.”
“It’s not all that complicated. We’re just trying to mimic the natural immune system, which really isn’t ready to go when the virus is already going,” Schleifer said.
Dr. Sean Conley, Trump’s physician, said Trump is also taking zinc, vitamin D, famotidine, melatonin and one aspirin a day.
On top of that, he is taking another experimental anti-coronavirus drug called remdesivir, according to a memorandum from Conley released Friday.
— Kayleigh McEnany (@PressSec) October 2, 2020
“The two of those in combination should help clear the virus out of his body much sooner than his body could do it on its own,” Dr. Ronny Jackson, a former White House physician who’s now running for Congress as a Republican in Texas, told Fox News on Saturday.
Dr. David Boulware at the University of Minnesota said an aggressive treatment regimen was to be expected.
“They’re not going to just sit around and watch to see if he gets sick,” Boulware told the AP.
On Saturday, Conley provided an update on Trump’s health and confirmed that he is “doing very well.”
“At this time, the team and I are extremely happy with the progress the president has made,” he said at a news conference. “Thursday he had a mild cough with some nasal congestion and fatigue, all of which are now resolving and improving.”
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