Donald Trump, who recently tested positive for COVID-19, is being treated with an antibody cocktail that has been described as “very promising” by UK experts and is about to be rolled out across the country, reported The Telegraph.
The US President, 74, is receiving the antiviral drug remdesivir, as well as an artificial antibody treatment REGN-COV2. The latter has been part of pioneering trials in the UK, and has been touted as having shown "very promising" results. In around seven days the treatment, made by the leading US biotechnology company Regeneron, will be available to coronavirus patients in 40 hospitals across the UK, writes the outlet.
‘No Worrying Safety Signals’
According to the co-chief investigator of the country’s “Recovery” trial, they began testing the cocktail last weekend.
“It is currently available in about three hospitals in the North, and we'll be rolling it out next week to another 30 or 40 hospitals," Peter Horby, professor of emerging infectious diseases at the University of Oxford, told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.
The trials of the treatment have not revealed any serious side effects, while improved symptoms were manifested by non-hospitalised patients. As an “antiviral”, the treatment is designed to work in cases when the patient’s virus is still replicating, while showing similarly beneficial effects “at any stage of the disease and for any age group”.
"It's an artificial antibody and a cocktail of two antibodies. It's designed so it binds strongly to a protein on the surface of the virus. It helps prevent the virus from attaching to the cells, entering the cells and replicating. It also helps our own immune system to attack and kill the virus,” said the Professor.
According to the expert involved in leading the trials of the treatment, this class of drugs, built on artificial antibodies, have been extensively in use for some time in inflammatory conditions and cancers.
“They're pretty safe and well understood. This particular drug has probably been given to 400 or 500 mild or severe patients in different trials and so far there's been no worrying safety signals,” Professor Horby was cited as saying.
Hailing the treatment as highly promising and potent, the expert added:
"In the laboratory in cell cultures it has a very strong effect against the virus and there have been some studies of artificially infected animals in which it showed benefit. Of the drugs available, it's one of the most promising."
The Professor conceded that in older patients a response to vaccines can be poorer, yet the class of drugs in question are noted for a long life.
He added that as one treatment can provide protection for up to six weeks, the drugs are deemed particularly "attractive for the older population".
Donald Trump’s physician confirmed on Friday, after the bombshell announcement that the US President and the First Lady had contracted COVID-19, that a course of the antiviral drug remdesivir known as Veklury in the United States, had been prescribed. This was the first drug approved to treat the coronavirus respiratory disease in both the UK and the US.
The medication was developed by biopharmaceutical company Gilead Sciences to tackle Ebola.
BREAKING: Trump is now being given remdesivir (@GileadSciences). It’s shown to reduce illness duration but not (yet) shown to significantly lower mortality so far. At least better than the sketchy use of the no-evidence @Regeneron multi-monoclonal antibody earlier. #COVID19 pic.twitter.com/0ezaG8tPBV— Eric Feigl-Ding (@DrEricDing) October 3, 2020
Administered intravenously, it works by disrupting the virus's replication process, and is suggested as particularly effective when administered in the early stages of COVID-19.
Earlier this year, Britain’s Health Secretary Matt Hancock hailed it as “probably the biggest step forward in the treatment of coronavirus since the crisis begun”.
In May, a clinical trial carried out on a global scale was reported to show the medication diminished the duration of symptoms suffered by people from 15 days to 11.
In June, the Trump administration acquired over 500,000 doses of the treatment, writes the outlet.
Besides remdesivir and REGN-COV2, Trump's physician Sean P. Conley confirmed he was also taking vitamin D and zinc as immune system boosters. A daily dose of aspirin, which may help avoid heart attacks and reduce fever, is also part of his treatment.
After the Friday announcement that he and Melania Trump had tested positive for COVID-19, Donald Trump was flown to Walter Reed military hospital in Maryland as a precaution after reportedly experiencing mild symptoms, including a slight fever and fatigue.
Trump's doctor said he is being closely monitored and would be given extra oxygen or fluids if required.