President Donald Trump announced via Twitter early Friday morning that he and Melania Trump had tested positive for COVID-19. On Friday afternoon, an update from the White House Physician stated that he “received a single 8-gram dose of Regeneron’s polyclonal antibody cocktail.”
An update from President @realDonaldTrump’s physician: pic.twitter.com/cTsXO4Df6b
— Kayleigh McEnany (@PressSec) October 2, 2020
A statement from his press secretary, Kayleigh McEnany, said that out of an abundance of caution, he will be working from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center for the next few days.
What’s the Regeneron polyclonal antibody cocktail?
It’s a combination of two antibodies–proteins that fight infection–designed to be delivered by infusion early on in the course of the disease.
Promising early results of a trial on this experimental antibody cocktail were released just last Tuesday. The trial suggested that the Regeneron polyclonal antibody cocktail reduced levels of the virus in people who received it and also reduced their symptoms. A CNN report on the trial explains that the combination of two antibodies in this cocktail is designed to shut down replication of the virus by tackling it in two different ways. It also quotes Jennifer Gommerman, a professor of immunology at the University of Toronto, saying that the antibody cocktail reduced “the amount of time that the patients are sick.”
“There is some promising early data that this does decrease the severity and sometimes prevents hospitalizations,” says Amesh A. Adalja, M.D., senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security. “I don’t think it’s out of the ordinary that it was administered to him,” he says.
How can you get this Regeneron antibody cocktail?
You can’t just yet. It hasn’t yet been approved by the FDA, but Bloomberg reports that Regeneron confirmed that “it had provided a single dose of the medicine for Trump’s use after receiving a “compassionate use” request from the president’s doctors.”
In addition to Regeneron, numerous companies are in the race to find antibody treatments for COVID-19 (Eli Lilly, for instance, announced positive news on its antibody drug recently as well).