Medical expert explains President Trump’s COVID-19 treatment

Coronavirus
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NEW YORK — President Donald Trump remained hospitalized Saturday while being treated for COVID-19.

His doctors said the president was in good spirits and had been fever-free for at least 24 hours. They also said they’re using two different treatments to battle the virus.

“About 48 hours ago the president received a special antibody therapy directed against the coronavirus, working closely with the companies and monitoring him,” said the president’s doctor, Navy Commander Dr. Sean Conley. “Yesterday, he received Remdesivir. The plan is to continue a five-day treatment course for Remdesivir.”

What is Remdesivir?

Dr. Mangala Narasimhan, who’s been at Northwell Health for 13 years and has treated hundreds of COVID-19 patients, said the antiviral agent Remdesivir attacks the virus in a way that hopefully makes it less deadly.

“If you give Remdesivir early in the course before patients are really sick, you can prevent them from progressing on to a higher level of illness.” Narasimhan said.

Doctors have recently been using the antiviral drug on COVID-19 patients, but not the antibody cocktail produced by Regeneron Pharmaceuticals the president is also taking because it hasn’t been approved by the FDA.

What is the Regeneron antibody cocktail?

“Basically what your body does when it sees a virus is it produces an antibody. So, this is taking an antibody that was produced and cloning it so that it’s produced in higher levels and then giving it directly to you,” said Narasimhan. “The antiviral cocktail is new, started developing in June, is not FDA-approved, but they got it through a compassionate use for the president. We’re not sure what the side effects are.”

The hope is that both treatments together will slow down the progression of the coronavirus but it’s still unclear how the president’s age, weight and the antibody cocktail awaiting FDA approval will play into his recovery.

“The two together are unknown for sure,” Narasimhan said. “The plus is you’ll stop progression of COVID-19.”

The president’s doctors said they are monitoring him closely, not just for any COVID-19 complications but also for any effects the treatments may have on him.

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