The announcements of US President Donald Trump testing positive for coronavirus have raised concerns about the severity of the president’s illness after his Chief of Staff had earlier said that Trump had only mild symptoms.
White House officials said on Friday, October 2 2020 that Trump will spend the coming days in a military hospital just outside Washington to undergo treatment for COVID-19 after he received an experimental and unproven treatment.
While still at the White House, Trump, 74, received a single dose of Regeneron’s antibody cocktail, according to a letter issued by White House physician Sean Conley.
The treatment is undergoing clinical trials but hasn’t yet received any form of regulatory approval.
Earlier this week, Regeneron announced results from one of its early-stage trials which showed its drug, which is infused intravenously, reduced viral load, and recovery time in non-hospitalized COVID-19 patients.
The US biotech firm is concurrently running late-stage trials for hospitalized COVID-19 patients and for the drug’s potential use as a prophylactic.
“He’s being evaluated by a team of experts, and together we’ll be making recommendations to the president and first lady in regards to next best steps,” Conley said.
Trump, who has repeatedly cast doubt on the seriousness of the pandemic first announced in an overnight tweet that he and First Lady Melania Trump, 50, had tested positive and were going into quarantine.
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The decision by Trump’s medical team to place him on the unproven medicine was met with deep skepticism by some experts.
“We shouldn’t be giving the president this medication until it’s been proven to work,” tweeted emergency medicine physician Jeremy Faust, an instructor at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.
But Leonard Schleifer, Regeneron’s CEO said, “All we can say is that they asked to be able to use it, and we were happy to oblige.”
He added that the president was not the first patient to be granted a so-called “compassionate use” exemption but “when it’s the president of the United States, of course, that obviously gets our attention.”
“At the recommendation of his physician and medical experts, the president will be working from the presidential offices at Walter Reed for the next few days,” press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said.