Fauci weighs in on Regeneron's Trump-backed COVID-19 drug: 'Good chance' it helped him

White House
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Infectious diseases expert Anthony Fauci, M.D., has said of Regeneron’s experimental antibody cocktail that: “There is a reasonably good chance that in fact it made [President Donald Trump] much better.”

The president tested positive for SARS-CoV-02 last week and spent several days at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, where he was given the Regeneron cocktail under an emergency, single-person use that is usually reserved for those with few or no other treatment options.

The president was also given the generic steroid dexamethasone, usually reserved for those in need of oxygen, as well as Gilead’s repurposed Ebola drug remdesivir and supplemental oxygen.

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The focus, however, has been on REGN-COV2, which is still in early trials but was given to the president under the compassionate use program in the hope it could help.

We don’t know whether it has, though Regeneron, the subject of a glowing review by the president in a Twitter video this week, is now gunning for an emergency clearance of the drug.

The cocktail has in very early tests shown it can reduce viral load, but there is not yet peer-reviewed evidence that it can significantly reduce the risk of hospitalization or death.

Fauci, however, still believes REGN-COV2 may have made the president “much better,” according to an interview on MSNBC. Regeneron has seen its shares jump since last Friday when news of its use was made public, steadily growing as the president endorsed the therapy, calling it a cure and saying he wanted the emergency use authorization for it cleared as soon as possible to get it into the U.S. healthcare system.

The president is one of around 10 people to have been given the therapy, which works as a cocktail of two cloned antibodies, one copied from a recovered COVID-19 patient and one from a genetically modified mouse.

Regeneron would not tell Fierce Biotech whether anyone else from the White House or Congress infected with the virus over the past week had asked for or received the drug. “As a matter of policy, the company does not disclose whether any individual has or has not submitted a request for compassionate use without their consent or prior disclosure,” a spokesperson for the company said.

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