President Donald Trump is shining a bright light on an experimental antibody cocktail that he claims has “cured” him of the coronavirus.
After Trump was diagnosed with COVID-19, he received an experimental antiviral cocktail made by Regeneron through a “compassionate use” exemption, which he has praised for the seemingly quick pace of his recovery. The cocktail is a combination of two manufactures antibodies and was “designed to specifically block infectivity” of COVID-19, according to the company.
Through the treatment, the monoclonal antibodies bind onto part of the coronavirus' spike protein -- the virus needs those spikes to invade our cells and attach itself. Blocking the spikes could help neutralize the virus.
“They call them therapeutic. But to me, it wasn’t therapeutic. It just made me better,” Trump said of the treatment he received. “Ok, I call that a cure."
While antibody treatments have shown promise, experts are saying it is way too early to call this treatment a “cure," as clinical trials are still in process. The safety and effectiveness of Regeneron’s antibody treatment have not yet been proven.
There is also no way for Trump or his doctors to know if the drug had an effect. Most people infected with COVID-19 recover.
Still -- though monoclonal antibodies don’t last forever -- it’s one of the best treatments currently available to individuals infected with COVID-19. The company did say, however, that the treatment has proven most effective in patients who had not already produced their own antibodies to the coronavirus.
Regeneron announced Wednesday that it has submitted an Emergency Use Authorization request to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for its COVID-19 antibody treatment. The company says that if the drug is approved, the government has committed to making the drug available to Americans at no cost.
Trump has explicitly that he would like to make the drug available and free for everyone. Regeneron has already received over $500 million from the federal government as part of “Operation Warp Speed," a U.S. initiative designed to expedite the development of a vaccine or cure for COVID-19.
Regeneron says they currently have doses of the drug available for about 50,000 patients and expect to have enough for 300,000 patients within the coming months. Under its agreement with the government, the company would distribute doses of the drug “free of charge” to U.S. patients because the government has already paid for them.