What we know about Donald Trump’s health

US President Donald Trump, 74, has spent three nights in hospital after he contracted the coronavirus, and has received multiple therapies.

Here’s what we know so far.

– When did he get infected? –

It’s not possible to know when he was first infected, but he tested positive on Thursday (October 1), according to his spokeswoman Kayleigh McEnany, who has since tested positive herself.

But the White House has not disclosed the date of the president’s last negative test.

– What are his symptoms? –

“High fever,” unusual fatigue and nasal congestion early on, according to his doctor, Sean Conley. The last time he experienced high temperature was Friday.

Trump’s blood oxygen levels twice fell to worrying levels, on Friday and on Saturday, according to the physician. At one stage it fell to 93 percent saturation. Anything below 95 percent indicates at least “moderate” rather than mild Covid-19.

Trump received supplemental oxygen on Friday at the White House, and possibly also Saturday in hospital — his doctor was not entirely clear on the point.

But he has not been on a ventilator, which is reserved for the most serious cases.

He was hospitalized on Friday, October 2, around 6:30pm.

– How is he being treated? – 

First a high dose of an experimental antibody treatment developed by the US biotech firm Regeneron, which was administered intravenously at the White House on Friday, according to Conley.

This drug is being studied in clinical trials and hasn’t yet received any form of regulatory approval — but early trial results are promising and last year the company developed an Ebola treatment using the same technology that was proven to work.

He’s on also a five-day course of the antiviral remdesivir, the first medicine to receive emergency approval against Covid-19.

It’s injected intravenously once a day, works by impeding viral replication, and is currently only recommended for patients who have progressed to the later stages of the disease and require supplementary oxygen.

Since Saturday, Trump has been treated using dexamethasone, a corticosteroid intended for hospitalized patients after it was proven in a clinical trial in Britain to reduce mortality.

The drug works by dialing down an abnormal immune response that causes severe inflammation of the organs and lungs, which is how Covid-19 does its greatest damage.

This last development has troubled medical experts the most and raised the possibility that Trump may be sicker than his doctors say. 

Or, that Trump might or someone advising him might be leaning on his doctors to give him the “kitchen sink” approach, a phenomenon known in medicine as “VIP syndrome.”

Taking remdesivir and dexamethasone together hasn’t been formally studied, but it is suggested that the two might work together in a complementary rather than opposing fashion and many doctors are pursuing this course.

Conley said that Trump has also recently been taking zinc, vitamin D, famotidine (which can be used against acid reflux), melatonin (usually prescribed for insomnia), and a daily aspirin.


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