After being diagnosed as positive for COVID-19, President Donald Trump received an experimental drug, the White House said this Friday.
“As a precautionary measure, it received a single dose of 8 grams of Regeneron’s polyclonal antibody cocktail. He finished the infusion without incident,” Dr. Sean Conley, the representative’s doctor, wrote in a memorandum.
The drug cocktail is a combination of two of the so-called monoclonal antibodies. Treatment is intended to provide a temporary but immediate boost to the body’s immune system to fight coronavirus.
Monoclonal antibodies (or, in this case, polyclonals because there are two in the cocktail) are manufactured in laboratories to mimic the body’s natural antibodies. Antibodies work by recognizing specific germs, in this case SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, and leveraging the immune system to fight them.
Experts believe this therapy, although not yet proven, is one of the most promising treatment options for the disease.
Regeneron confirmed that it supplied its experimental drug to the president under what is called “compassionate use,” where through which the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) allows access to experimental drugs outside clinical trials for patients with a life-threatening condition or serious illness.
The experimental treatment is currently being studied in clinical trials as a potential treatment and to prevent the disease in people who have been exposed to it.
The pharmaceutical company said Tuesday that preliminary evidence from trials suggests treatment appears to be beneficial in patients with mild to moderate disease.
“It decreased viral load and caused symptoms to outperform faster,” said Dr Todd Rice, an associate professor of medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee. Rice is not involved in Regeneron clinical trials.
The White House argues that Trump has mild symptoms, including fatigue and low fever. As a precautionary measure, the president was transferred to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.