President Donald Trump, who was headed to the hospital on Friday, hours after announcing that he and first lady Melania Trump tested positive for Covid-19, received a dose of an experimental treatment from Regeneron to combat the illness. According to the White House, Trump received the infusion as a "precautionary measure" and is doing well. Following that, shares of Regeneron Pharmaceuticals rose more than 2 percent in the extended session Friday. However, it ended the day slightly lower.
Regeneron's experimental antibody cocktail is among the many treatments that are being tried out and is in the clinical stage of trail to treat the deadly virus. Besides, the President is being administered a hosts of other drugs to keep him in good health.
Trump Under Treatment
Trump's precautionary hospitalization comes just a day after he tested positive. However, speculation is rife that he was likely exposed to the coronavirus around the same time his aide, Hope Hicks, was also exposed. However, Trump is being administered a range of medicines to stay fit. On arrival and after a few round of tests, he received a single 8-gram dose of Regeneron's polyclonal antibody cocktail as a precautionary measure, according to White House Physician Sean Conley.
Conley, who has served as Trump's physician since 2018, said in a memo Friday afternoon that Trump "remains fatigued but in good spirits." Regeneron's antibody cocktail is being studied in four late-stage clinical trials and its safety and efficacy have not been fully evaluated by any regulatory authority, according to the company.
On Tuesday the drugmaker said that those who received the two-antibody cocktail REGN-COV2 showed a lower viral loads and faster alleviation of symptoms than those who received placebo. That was based on results for the first 275 trial patients. At the time, the company indicated it plans to "rapidly" discuss the early results with regulatory agencies, including the FDA. It now needs to be seen how it works on Trump.
"This was a wholly appropriate decision to give him active therapy, and then it just became a choice of which therapy," former Food and Drug Administration (FDA) commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb told CNBC on Friday after Trump was given the dose.
What is REGN-COV2?
Regeneron's REGN-COV2 is an experimental shot of lab-generated antibodies that mimics how the body would mount a reaction to a foreign invader. The goal is to boost the immune system's defenses, rather than to wait on human biology to do its job. That said, Trump also has a low-grade fever, NBC News reported Friday afternoon, citing some people familiar with his condition.
Gottlieb also said that he thought that if Trump were going to receive any early treatments for Covid-19, it would in all likelihood be Gilead Sciences' remdesivir. The antiviral drug has received emergency approval from the FDA, but only for hospitalized coronavirus patients who are severely ill.
Several Medicines Being Administered
Besides, REGN-COV2, Trump has been given a range of other medicines. The president also has been taking zinc, vitamin D, famotidine, melatonin and a daily aspirin, Conley said.
These medicines are primarily being given as preventive measures so that his things like cough and cold don't aggravate and at the same time his immune system functions properly.
"There are studies that suggest if you're low on Vitamin D, Vitamin D supplementation can be beneficial, but you'd want to be on Vitamin D prior to getting sick," Gottlieb said adding that he doesn't think any of the drugs being administered on the President are problematic or could cause harm. However, he also said that he isn't sure if they're going to provide "a treatment effect in this setting."
In an 18-second video posted to Twitter Friday evening, Trump addressed the nation and said he was "doing very well." "I want to thank everybody for the tremendous support. I'm going to Walter Reed Hospital. I think I'm doing very well, but we're going to make sure that things work out. The first lady is doing very well," he said.