WASHINGTON (CBSLA/CBS News) — President Donald Trump was transported to Walter Reed Medical Center aboard the Marine One on Friday after sharing through social media that he and First Lady Melania Trump have tested positive for coronavirus.
The White House said Trump was being treated with an experimental drug cocktail.
The president’s physician, Sean P. Conley, released a memo Friday saying Trump received an 8-gram dose of Regeneron’s polyclonal“as a precautionary measure.”
The medication is still undergoing a clinical trial, with the first data from 275 non-hospitalized patients showing that “it reduced viral load and the time to alleviate symptoms,” the company said in a press release this week.
More volunteers are vital in proving the drug’s safety and effectiveness.
“What our antibodies do is we make it a fairer fight,” Regeneron CEO Leonard Schleifer said about the drug.
Regeneron confirmed it provided the experimental antibody cocktail REGN-COV2, which is being studied in part at Providence St. John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, to the White House under a compassionate use request since the drug has not yet been FDA approved for emergency use.
“He’s in a higher risk group for a variety of reasons, such as being older. If we give our antibodies, we hope that we will give his immune system enough of a boost so that he can win this and make a complete recovery,” Schleifer said.
The president has access to world-class medical care to keep him healthy and able to perform his duties in the office, still, some officials are surprised he was able to access the experimental drug.
“I think the fact that the President of the United States now gets special access to a drug that is otherwise only available to a very limited number of Americans through a randomized clinical trial is also somewhat disturbing,” said Dr. Terese Hammond of Providence St. John’s Health Center.
Regeneron has shown early signs of success, doctors say, but there are still unknowns as to its effectiveness in treating the coronavirus.
“Part of what makes it special is that it sort of slows down the process that the virus can overwhelm the immune system while the immune system has a chance to sort of rev up by itself,” Dr. Hammond said.
Along with the experimental drug, Conley said the president is also taking zinc, vitamin D, famotidine (a medication for heartburn or acid reflux), melatonin and a daily aspirin.
“He is not requiring any supplemental oxygen, but in consultation with specialists we have elected to initiate Remdesivir therapy. He has completed his first dose and is resting comfortably,” Conley said in a statement.
Late Friday afternoon, the president was transported to Walter Reed Medical Center for a few days of treatment “out of an abundance of caution,” according to White House press secretary Kaleigh McEnany.
Trump tweeted out the following message around 11:30 p.m. ET, “Going welI, I think! Thank you to all. LOVE!!!”
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