Many people wonder what exactly are these medications aimed at -- and is it safe to receive them all at once?
The three most notable treatments that the president has received are Regeneron’s Monoclonal Antibody cocktail, Gilead’s Remdesivir, and the steroid Dexmethasone. Each one targets something different from the virus.
On Friday, Trump received an infusion of the Regeneron’s mix of two antibodies. They work by binding to the spike protein of the SARS-CoV-2. This is what the virus uses to invade our cells and by attaching themselves these laboratory produced antibodies can neutralize the virus.
It is important to note that although clinical studies suggest that it is safe, the Regeneron antibody cocktail is not FDA approved at this time and not considered part of routine care.
Over the weekend, Trump also started a five-day course of Remdesivir. The drug does have an emergency use authorization granted by the FDA.
Remdesivir works by blocking the ability of SARS-CoV-2 to make copies of itself once it’s infected a human cell. If the virus can’t copy itself, it can’t go on to infect other cells in the body.
Remdesivir has been shown to shorten the length illness in hospitalized patients who received it. There is still some debate on how effectively it might reduce the risk of death.
The third medication Trump was given is the steroid Dexamethasone. It’s a very common drug that has potent anti-inflammatory effects and has been shown to decrease the likelihood of death in hospitalized patients requiring oxygen or a ventilator. It works by calming the dangerous immune over-response that the most severe COVID-19 patients have.
The biggest potential downside to Dexamethasone is that, by blunting the immune system, if it’s given too early there’s a possibility it could open the door to the virus by blocking a person’s ability to fight back.
As far as the safety of giving all of these medications, Remdesivir and Dexamethasone are already routinely used together and there isn’t any reason to think the Regeneron antibodies would be problematic with other medications.