After the initial diagnosis of Covid-19, President Trump was given an experimental drug duo from Regeneron of monoclonal antibodies. This treatment can help the body’s immune system fight viruses like SARS-CoV-2, which causes Covid-19, by stopping them from infecting healthy cells. The Regeneron cocktail is still in the trial phase, but early studies showed promising results: a trial of 275 people showed those receiving the treatment presented a far greater reduction in the amount of virus in their blood after seven days, compared to those not taking the treatment.
It has not been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) nor authorized for emergency use, so people can only get the treatment by becoming part of a clinical trial, or, when their doctor applies to the company who makes the drug and the FDA for “compassionate use.” In Trump’s case, Dr. Conley made a strong case for trying this still experimental treatment, even though there remains some caution as to its effectiveness.
The virus attacks individuals differently, and as of yet, there is no standard way to treat it. Being diagnosed quite a bit into the pandemic, means the President benefits from months of research and understanding into the disease. As well, the President’s Doctors were prepared to push the boundaries of current knowledge and attack the virus head-on.
Current knowledge posits Covid-19 as essentially two different diseases. First, the infection itself is the part that causes symptoms like fever, tiredness, headaches, and shortness of breath. These symptoms indicate that since exposure the virus is beginning to tunnel its way into the respiratory tract and start to multiply.
As the virus takes hold, the body’s immune system begins to attack the virus, it is this response, and the inflammation it causes that can ignite the second part of the virus, where lungs and other areas are impaired. The knock-on effect produces more dangerous symptoms like respiratory failure, blood clots, and sadly, in some cases death.
So, treating the virus, extremely early, as President Trump’s doctors did, practically before any symptoms were showing, with the anti-viral cocktail, would theoretically stop the disease escalating to the point where the immune system starts to wreak havoc on other organs. The cocktail contains, two monoclonal antibodies that were identified from studies into the blood of people who had already recovered from Covid-19, as well that standard scientist protocol of using “infected mice.” Data show "it reduced viral load AND reduced the time to alleviate symptoms," the company said in a press release last week.
President Trump was also given Remdesivir, zinc, vitamin D, Famotidine (the medication in Pepcid), melatonin, a daily aspirin, and Dexamethasone.
Famotidine decreases stomach acid production and is used for people with stomach ulcers or acid reflux. Studies suggest it may help with COVID treatment. Dexamethasone is a quite common and cheap anti-inflammatory steroid drug which increases energy, well-being and reduces pain. A UK study pointed to benefits when used for Covid-19 patients.
Remdesivir is most often used in Covid-19 cases when a chest x-ray or CT scan of the chest, detect an "infiltrate or a pattern of viral infection, viral pneumonia, somewhere in the lungs, but studies also show Remdesivir therapy helping with more mild symptoms. Former Health and Human Services physician," Dr. Matthew Heinz, said of prescribing Remdesivir for the President, “I think it was a good thing to do."
According to Dr. Kelly Victory, reports from Remdesivir’s manufacturers Gilead also explain why President Trump’s treatment did not include hydroxychloroquine: Gilead issued concerns that both treatments have similar potential side-effects and it is, therefore, problematic if they were taken together.
Carol King received a first-class BA (honors) in History and Politics from Stirling University, along with an exceptional commendation for a study on US public opinion and Foreign Policy. She also completed a year of study at the University of London before taking up a Graduate Proctor Fellowship at Princeton University. She further completed a MPhil in American Politics at Dundee University. Aspiring to be a writer/commentator on American politics, she now writes for UncoverDC.