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How you can get treated with experimental COVID-19 drug used to treat President Trump

Drug cocktail given to President Trump going through clinical trial in Memphis
Drug cocktail given to President Trump going through clinical trial in Memphis(source: Regeneron)
Updated: Oct. 3, 2020 at 11:06 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - The experimental antibody drug given to President Trump was said to be one of the most promising in preventing serious illness from a COVID-19 infection.

The President has received a dose of the experimental antibody cocktail REGN-COV2 created by Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc.

Infectious disease expert, Dr. Michael Saag, with the University of Alabama at Birmingham explained the cocktail reduces the amount of virus in the body and symptoms go away almost twice as fast.

“The Regeneron drug is basically two antibodies- that means they are two proteins made by the immune system- and what they do it attack the outer portion of the virus called the spike protein where it bonds and enters into cells. It blocks those in two different locations,” Dr. Saag explained.

Saag said the new drug shows better results than convalescent plasma.

“Because the plasma has all kinds of antibodies in it, which is what this drug is, except they’re all over the place, number one; and number two, there are varying levels from patient to patient in terms of the donor. So, in this case, the antibody is manufactured in a lab, so there’s a known amount of antibody for every dose and that way it’s a lot more standardized,” He said.

The president’s doctor got special permission under “compassionate use” provisions from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to use the drug because it hasn’t been approved for public use and is still in clinical trials.

“I don’t blame him for getting it. If I were in that situation I would want it too,” said Saag.

At the time this article was written, Dr. Saag said the only way for the public to get the treatment is to sign up for a clinical trial through UAB; even then the participant had a 1 out of 3 chance of getting a placebo.

Since the drug is still being tested, safety and effectiveness are not yet known. Thus far, no treatment has proved to prevent serious illness after infection.

The President was also being treated with Remdesivir.

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