Trump says experimental drugs may have saved him from coronavirus

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WASHINGTON – US President Donald Trump said on Friday he could have gotten very sick and not recovered from COVID-19 without experimental drugs, a prospect far worse than what his doctors were telling the American people. “I was asking the doctors today… and I said, ‘How bad was I? They said, “You could have been very bad. You were going through a very bad phase, ”Trump told Rush Limbaugh on his radio show.

“It looked like it was going to be a big deal and you know what that means, don’t you?” It means bad because I lost five people, ”Trump added, referring to deceased acquaintances.

Trump said that after contracting the virus he was “not in great shape.” He added that “I might not have recovered at all” without treatment with experimental drugs.

Trump’s comments about the severity of his coronavirus case contrast with generally optimistic public statements about his condition that his doctors released after his diagnosis and while he was hospitalized.

The White House said Trump’s hospitalization at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, which began on October 2, was a precautionary measure and his symptoms were mild.

On October 3, Trump’s doctor gave a televised briefing and painted a sunny picture of the president’s situation, stressing that he still worked, walked alone, and didn’t struggle to breathe. But Dr Sean Conley notably declined to provide some specific details, including repeatedly avoiding questions of whether the president had at any given time been given supplemental oxygen. It was later learned that Trump was given oxygen before being taken to Walter Reed.

Trump’s comments were followed closely with an update provided by White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows following his hospitalization. Meadows provided few details, but said the president’s initial situation had been “of great concern” and that while his health was improving, the next 48 hours would be critical.

Trump attributed his recovery to an experimental drug antibody made by Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc. “It was mainly this one drug,” Trump said. “He just wiped out the virus. He destroyed it. ”

The drug is not a cure, but experimental antibody treatments like the one Trump has received are among the most promising therapies tested to treat and prevent coronavirus infections. Antibody drugs, which aim to help the immune system clear the virus, are still being tested. Their safety and effectiveness are not yet known, and there is no way for the president or his doctors to know if the drug has worked for him.

Trump is among less than 10 people who were able to access the drug under “compassionate use” rules without signing up for a study. He said he was “bothering” the Food and Drug Administration to quickly authorize emergency use of the drugs more widely.

Trump has said if the antibody drugs made by Regeneron and Eli Lilly are successful in clinical trials, they will be a “cure.”

“It’s a cure and I’m talking to you today because of it,” Trump said. “And, you know, because I think I could have been a… bad victim.” I fit into some categories that are not that great. … I’m telling you that this is a game changer. ”

The White House did not respond to questions about the discrepancies between Trump’s account of his condition and the weekend updates given by his doctors.

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