Since President Donald Trump took to Twitter on Wednesday, Oct. 7, praising an experimental antibody cocktail as a cure for COVID-19, drugmaker Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc. has been scrambling to get the drug approved for public use as soon as possible. The federal government has even given more than $500 million dollars to expedite the process as part of its Operation Warp Speed initiative to get vaccines and other COVID treatments to market, The New York Times reports. Trump also posted another video on Twitter on Oct. 8, alluding to the success of Regeneron and telling seniors they'd be able to get it for free soon. But what do we actually know about the experimental treatment that is still in clinical trials? Read on to get the facts you should know about the drug Trump claims cured him. And for more on the drugs doctors gave the president, These Are All the COVID Treatments Trump Has Tried.
It's a combination of two antibodies.
REGN-COV2 is "a combination of two monoclonal antibodies (REGN10933 and REGN10987) and was designed specifically to block infectivity of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19," according to a statement released from Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc. on Sept. 29. The two antibodies essentially bind to the coronavirus' spike protein, which inhibits it from mutating. And for more on the treatments doctors administered to the president, check out The Harrowing Side Effects of Trump's COVID Treatment.
It is likely effective at reducing COVID-19 symptoms.
While clinical trials in humans are still ongoing, preliminary results indicate that the treatment reduced "viral load and shortened symptomatic disease in patients" who did not already have COVID-19 antibodies, according to an article in the journal Science. In addition, trials have not yielded any evidence of serious health risks regardless of the dosage level. The president was given eight milligrams, which is considered to be a high dose.
But there's no evidence it prevents COVID-19.
According to the same statement issued from Regeneron, there are ongoing "studies of REGN-COV2 for the treatment of hospitalized patients, and for prevention of infection in people who have been exposed to COVID-19 patients," but no evidence of the drug's efficacy at preventing COVID infection currently exists. And for another recent development regarding the coronavirus, This Is the Connection Between Pink Eye and COVID-19.
The drug has been submitted for emergency FDA approval.
According to reporting from The New York Times, Regeneron submitted the antibody cocktail for emergency approval from the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Oct. 7. The move came shortly after the president praised the drugmaker's experimental cocktail as an alleged cure for COVID-19. However, medical experts agree that there is no evidence to indicate that the product is solely responsible for Trump's self-claimed recovery. "There is zero evidence that he is 'cured,' and even if he's getting better, there is nothing to prove it was (or wasn't) the Regeneron treatment," Megan Ranney, MD, an associate professor of emergency medicine and public health at Brown University, told The New Republic.
If approved, the drugmaker stated that the treatment would initially be available on a limited basis, with only enough doses for about 50,000 patients. And for more up-to-date information delivered straight to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.