The President of the United States (US), Donald Trump, is being treated for the coronavirus with an experimental drug cocktail, said the President’s physician Sean Conley on Friday (2 Oct).
President Trump first announced on Twitter that he and First Lady Melania Trump had tested positive for the COVID-19. The news came after one of his closest advisors, Hope Hicks, was reported on Thursday (1 Oct) to have been infected with the virus.
The White House issued a letter on Friday confirming that President Trump has received a single 8-gram dose of Regeneron’s experimental antibody therapy, noting that the President is “fatigued but in good spirits”, as reported by AFP.
“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,” said Mr Conley.
While First Lady Melania Trump “remains well with only a mild cough and headache”, he added.
The medication, known as REGN-COV2, is still undergoing clinical trials.
Regeneron’s president and chief scientific officer, George Yancopoulos, said on 29 September that the company has begun discussing with regulatory authorities pertained to its findings, while studies of it continue.
The company’s first data from 275 non-hospitalised patients showed that the medication “reduced viral load and the time to alleviate symptoms”.
“The greatest treatment benefit was in patients who had not mounted their own effective immune response, suggesting that REGN-COV2 could provide a therapeutic substitute for the naturally-occurring immune response,” said Mr Yancopoulos.
“These patients were less likely to clear the virus on their own, and were at greater risk for prolonged symptoms.”
Regeneron combines two antibodies in the medication, they called it a “cocktail”, as it might works best if the virus mutates.
Blood samples to produce cocktail antibody came from the NCID, Singapore
Cocktail antibody therapy uses two or more lab-engineered antibodies.
For Regeneron’s medication, it uses a monoclonal antibody that “targets the spike protein the virus uses to drill into healthy cells”, and another antibody that targets a different part of the COVID-19, as reported by CNN on 30 September.
The idea of this is to “trap and shut down viral replication”.
Based on a research study, the two approaches to generate antibodies against the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) antibody cocktail include “genetically humanized mice and convalescent patients”.
Humanized mice referred to a mouse carrying functional human biological systems, it is commonly used in medical research for human therapeutics.
The researchers involved in the studies noted that these approaches “yielded a large collection of fully human antibodies that were characterized for binding, neutralization, and three-dimensional structure”.
“We report notable similarities and consistencies in the antibodies generated from genetically humanized mice and from convalescent humans.”
Meanwhile, the supplementary of the research states that the samples of convalescent human donors were “received from the National Centre for Infectious Diseases (NCID), Singapore”.
It stated that the whole blood was collected from three convalescent human donors, age range between 18y/o to 60y/o, who have recovered from SARS-CoV-2 infection.