Trump ‘in a race’ against Covid-19 and experimental treatment makes it ‘a fair fight’, says Regeneron CEO

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“He’s in a race where his immune system is racing against the virus, and if the virus wins you can have dire consequences, obviously, and what our antibodies do is we make it a fair fight.” Dr. Leonard Schleifer told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer. .

“He’s in a higher risk group for a variety of reasons, like being older, and if we donate our antibodies hopefully we’ll give his immune system a boost enough to get him. can win and fully recover. Said Schleifer.

Regeneron’s investigational monoclonal antibody treatment is still in large-scale clinical trials, but it is available for compassionate use, which the U.S. Food and Drug and Administration must approve on an individual basis.

“We have a lot of data, but we are still in the experimental phase, but when you are in the middle of a pandemic and you have people at risk, we think it makes sense to try those,” he said. Schleifer said.

Trump was given a single 8-gram dose of the Regeneron double antibody cocktail on Friday and completed the infusion without incident, the president’s physician Dr Sean Conley said in a statement.“In addition to the polyclonal antibodies, the President took zinc, vitamin D, famotidine, melatonin and an aspirin daily,” said Conley.

A single high dose of Regeneron antibody treatment should do the trick, Schleifer said.

“This is a large enough dose that it will last long enough, hopefully even beyond full recovery,” he said. “We have ready evidence that these last a long time in the body, as you would expect with this type of therapy.

The cocktail includes two monoclonal antibodies – lab-engineered versions of immune system proteins targeted specifically against the coronavirus.

“It’s not that complicated. We’re just trying to mimic the natural immune system, which is really not ready to work when the virus is already going away, ”Schleifer said.

Concerns about experimental antibody therapy

But an emergency doctor at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, Dr Jeremy Faust, has openly said he gave the president unapproved treatment.

“We’re not giving this drug away, not because you’re not special enough to get it, (but) because we don’t know it yet,” he said.

“We do a risk-benefit analysis of everything and if I can’t tell my patient what the benefit is, there’s no conversation to be had,” Faust told CNN.

He also said giving Trump the unproven treatment just doesn’t look right.

“It’s not ready for prime time and, quite frankly, it sends a message that they’re jostling each other,” Faust said.

Other patients may seek the same treatment, he said.

“I can’t look them in the eye and tell them I know anything about it, in terms of the risks and benefits. It’s a very bad precedent, ”Faust said.

Regeneron says results are promising

But Schleifer says Regeneron sees promising results in his clinical trials.

And former director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr Thomas Frieden, agreed.

Regeneron’s experimental monoclonal antibody therapy to treat coronavirus, while unproven, is “a promising treatment,” said Frieden, CEO of the Resolve to Save Lives health initiative.

“We don’t know if it will be helpful, but it’s something it’s not unreasonable to try,” he said.

“There is a report that only less than 300 patients received it. It seems to be most effective early in the disease, especially before patients produce their own antibodies. ”

Trump, who was admitted to Walter Reed National Military Hospital on Friday evening, received the monoclonal antibody treatment earlier today, but Schleifer has not confirmed whether First Lady Melania Trump also received the treatment.

Jen Christensen contributed to this story.

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