CLEVELAND — Before President Donald Trump left the White House on Marine One to receive COVID-19 treatment at Walter Reed Medical Center, his physician Dr. Sean Conley sent out a memo indicating Trump received a single eight gram dose of a polyclonal antibody cocktail made by New York state based pharmaceutical company Regeneron.
But what is it?
“If we give our antibodies, we hope we can give his immune system enough of a boost so he can win this and make a recovery,” said Dr. Len Schleifer, Co-Founder and CEO for Regeneron.
Dr. Claudia Hoyen, an infectious disease specialist with Rainbow Children’s Hospital, said the experimental drug’s clinical trial looks promising.
“They saw a great decrease in the viral load. They thought they saw kind of trends or correlations in people needing less hospitalization and also exhibiting fewer symptoms,” said Dr. Hoyen.
The handmade antibody cocktail mimics the antibodies of those who have already fought off COVID-19.
“If you've had the virus, you make antibodies. And if you take the serum from somebody who's had the virus, give it to someone who just now got it, their antibodies can help,” explained Dr. Keith Armitage of University Hospitals.
Regeneron’s CEO said the White House had to get approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to give the president the drug.
“It’s called a compassionate use basis, which is really just an individual experimental use approach,” said Schleifer.
Schleifer said only a single dose of medication is needed to get the president through until he recovers.
Local doctors speculate the president’s trip to Walter Reed comes out of an abundance of caution.
“He’s the president. They are wanting to be sure he has all the attention he needs. If for some reason he were to become ill, he’d already be in the hospital,” said Dr. Hoyen.
The White House shared late Friday the president is not requiring oxygen, but did start Remdesivir therapy, which is also an experimental drug for COVID-19.
Officials said he completed his first dose and is resting comfortably.