In a video Tweet on Wednesday evening, U.S. President Donald J. Trump revealed that he had been given the experimental drug REGN-COV2 from Regeneron as part of his treatment to treat the corona virus while at Walter Reed Medical Center last weekend. The President swore to its effectiveness and promised to get the drug made available for free to all Americans.
President Trump said, ”They gave me Regeneron and it was, like, unbelievable. I felt good immediately!”
“If you’re in the hospital and you’re feeling bad, I think we’re gonna be able to work it so you’re gonna get ‘em and you’re gonna get ‘em free.”
”We have hundreds of thousands of doses that are just about ready and we have Emergency Use Authorization and we need to get it signed now.”
A MESSAGE FROM THE PRESIDENT! pic.twitter.com/uhLIcknAjT
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 7, 2020
REGN-COV2 is a combination or “cocktail” of two antibodies: infection-fighting proteins that were developed to bind to the part of the new corona virus that it uses to invade human cells according to medical researchers on Medical Xpress.
The antibodies attach themselves to different parts of the virus’ “spike protein,” distorting its structure—similar in a way to knocking a key out of shape so it no longer fits its lock, the article stated.
Researchers can also comb through antibodies produced by recovered patients and select the most effective out of thousands, and then manufacture them at scale which differs from the plasma treatments currently available which cannot be produced en masse.
Especially important to note is the fact that the company, Regeneron, used the same “humanized mouse” technology to develop a triple-antibody cocktail which was shown to be effective against Ebola last year.
“That’s part of what’s giving us confidence, the platform has been tried and has been shown to be to work very, very well,” Christos Kyratsous, Regeneron’s lead infectious disease scientist told AFP in March, the article stated.
There has been a trial on the drug already using 275 patients and some results from this early stage clinical trial have suggested that it reduced the viral load and recovery time in non-hospitalized patients.
The treatment also has produced no deaths and only mild to moderate side effects but most of the side effects are typical in IV drug therapies.
The article stated that although the specific side effects of the studies were not listed, Arun Swaminath, a doctor at New York’s Lenox Hill Hospital, said that, in general, mild reactions to IV-therapies include fevers, chills and fatigue.
In terms of safety, it said “infusion reactions” were seen in four patients—two on placebo and two on the drug, while “serious adverse events” occurred in two placebo patients and one on the drug. No one died.
The more serious symptoms include chest pain and shortness of breath.
The treatment is in late stage trials and Regeneron’s president George Yancopoulos said the company had begun talks with regulatory authorities—presumably for temporary approval before full licensure.
“I think it’s more important than the vaccine,” Trump said.
President Trump went on to describe how he defined Regeneron and similar treatments currently being developed, as cures rather than ‘therapeutics’ stating essentially that some people misinterpret the definition between therapeutics and cures because when he took it he felt better implying it was more like a cure than a therapeutic which is usually designed to treat the symptoms of a particular disease or ailment.
“They’re going to say they are therapeutic. And I guess they are therapeutic. Some people don’t know how to define therapeutic. I view it different(ly). It’s a cure…I want everybody to be given the same treatment as your President,” said President Trump.
He said that 24 hours after he took it he felt better, great in fact.
“I think this was a blessing from God that I caught it. This was a blessing in disguise” President Trump said.
“I want to get for you what I got and I want to make it free!”
Of course President Trump’s Tweet was met with both praise and criticism.
While some praised him on social media for his bravery and leadership for opting to try the treatment that is still in late stage trials, others claimed that it was foolish and surmised that he’s going to push an unsafe treatment to the masses.
The critics apparently hadn’t looked at the research.
While several were trying to focus on the potential financial gain associated with developing such an innovative drug, others incorrectly suggested that the President himself is invested with the Swedish based company.
Regeneron will eventually make a profit by creating the drug and making a reputable name for themselves. They may profit in the future from this drug or be able to market other drugs for other ailments once they develop a good reputation based on this drug even if free.
Others were worried that the President should not be used as a lab rat or guinea pig for testing unproven medical options. Jeremy Faust, a public health expert at Harvard, voiced concern, according to the article in Medical Xpress stating, “Either the president’s team had not understood the scientific process, or they had understood but were overridden by Trump on someone else’s advice.”
“People will see this and they’ll think that this is the treatment you should have—and if you don’t give it to other people who have corona virus that we’re denying them special treatment.”
“In reality that’s not the case… we shouldn’t be treating the president as a guinea pig.”
When the President says he is going to ensure that Americans will be able to get the drug for free because its not their fault, the virus came from China and China is going to pay for it, and it has been proven effective in late-stage clinical trials and has produced only minimal side effects, the naysayers reply that these arguments were quickly debunked.
But, really, the good news is true.