In a video released on Twitter, President Trump talked up the benefits of an experimental antibody drug given to treat him for COVID.
In a video released Wednesday, President Donald Trump talked up the benefits of an experimental drug that he credited for “curing” him of COVID-19. He pledged to make the therapy freely available to all Americans.
Trump received REGN-COV2, made by Regeneron, a New York biotech company, after testing positive last week for the disease. The drug, a pair of monoclonal antibodies, is intended to mimic the natural process of the immune system, providing it with molecules the body normally manufactures to fight off specific diseases.
It is currently being tested in people at various stages of the disease, including patients who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 and are symptomatic but not hospitalized, as was Trump.
It also is being considered as a prophylactic treatment to prevent infection in people who have been exposed to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.
The drug remains under development and is not yet approved for use in the United States or anywhere else. It appears to be safe but has not yet been proven effective in clinical trials at treating or preventing COVID-19.
Donald Trump’s COVID-19 treatment: It’s similar to the average American hospitalized with coronavirus. Only faster.
Trump was able to get it under a “compassionate use” exemption, which the company said it has granted to fewer than 10 people so far, after requests from their doctors and approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, a process that typically takes days to weeks.
Regeneron said compassionate use is “only for rare and exceptional circumstances as we don’t want to raise false hopes among the many patients out there,” according company spokeswoman Alexandra Bowie.
Otherwise, about 2,000 people have taken REGN-COV2 as part of clinical trials designed to ensure that it is safe and effective. The drug is not yet available outside of of trials and the supply is currently very limited.
“So we’re going to get you the drug. It’s going to be free. We’re going to get it into the hospitals as soon as you can, as soon as we can,” Trump said in the video filmed outside the White House on Wednesday evening.
Regeneron’s Bowie said Wednesday evening the company has submitted a request to the FDA for an emergency use authorization.
“At this time, there are doses available for approximately 50,000 patients, and we expect to have doses available for 300,000 patients in total within the next few months,” she said via email.
The federal government paid $450 million to Regeneron in July to launch a demonstration project to manufacture the drug. It will own doses that result from the project.
REGN-COV2 includes two antibodies. One comes from a person who recovered from COVID-19, the other is from a mouse engineered to have a human immune system. Both target a protein on the surface of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.
Bowie said Trump