Donald Trump is back at the White House after a brief hospital stay, since it was announced last Friday that President and First Lady Melania Trump tested positive for the coronavirus.
“I have not felt better in 20 years,” the president wrote on Twitter on Monday.
Before the president was admitted to the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, he received treatment that has not yet been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), says CNN.
The president received antibody therapy that stimulates the immune system to attack specific cells and proteins in the body. The treatment, called Regeneron’s experimental antibody therapy, is still in the testing phase, and is therefore not approved for public use by the US FDA.
The company that has developed the treatment, Biotech company Regeneron, says that they gave Trump the medicine after receiving what is called a “compassionate use request”. According to the FDA’s website, such an application includes that a patient with a life-threatening illness requests access to otherwise unavailable treatment. Getting such a treatment approved usually takes a very long time. The president received the treatment on Friday, the same day as the news that he was infected was published, writes CNN.
Epidemiologist Seema Yasmin points out that this is an offer most other infected people with life-threatening symptoms do not receive.
There are 210,000 Americans who have lost their lives because the country’s coronavirus response has failed. They did not get access to such treatment, Yasmin adds.
In addition to the antibody treatment, the president has received the drugs remdesivir and dexamethasone, a unique cocktail he is probably alone in having received.
“The president is probably the only patient on the planet who has received this combination of drugs,” Dr. Jonathan Reiner of George Washington University told CNN.
Clinical testing has shown that a five-day treatment with remdesivir can make the way back after coronavirus infection shorter and easier. But the antiviral drug has also been shown to cause side effects that cause damage to the liver and kidneys.