All about monoclonal antibody drugs – the experimental treatment that may have reversed Trump’s COVID-19


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“It’s quite possible that by the time you give it, you give it too late.”

Medical technicians work at a COVID-19 testing facility behind the wheel of the Westchester campus of Regeneron Pharmaceuticals in Tarrytown, New York, September 17, 2020. Photo by Brendan McDermid / Reuters / File

The fact that Trump has something totally experimental has raised eyebrows, but monoclonal antibodies are used across medicine to treat infectious diseases, autoimmune diseases, and lymphomas.

“The short answer is: a great therapy showing promise, but we’re going to need better data,” Downar said.

The wrong side? It is difficult and expensive to do. It is laborious, time-consuming treatment and monoclonal antibodies can cost thousands of dollars per person treated.

What’s more, any antibody therapy has the potential to trigger an exaggerated or out of whack immune or inflammatory response that, in rare cases, could damage multiple organs, Downar said.

“If you use it in situations where the person does not have an adequate immune response and the insult, the infection, causes a lot of damage, then there is good logic to think that it could be effective” , did he declare.

It’s hard to say what helped Trump. Science is strongest for dexamethasone, a ubiquitous and inexpensive steroid.

“It’s impossible to know,” said Arnold, a professor and one of the principal investigators of a large convalescent plasma trial in Canada.

“The other piece is that as far as I know Trump had fairly mild symptoms, certainly not enough to qualify him to be hospitalized for an extended period or to need oxygen for an extended period. For a lot of people, if they had these symptoms, they probably wouldn’t be hospitalized – they would be treated in the clinic, and a lot of them would be fine on their own, anyway.

“Really difficult to know, for all these reasons, if this treatment made a difference in this particular case. ”

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