The White House confirmed doctors gave President Trump a single 8-gram dose of Regeneron’s experimental antibody therapy to treat Covid-19.
Regeneron, a New York-based biotech company, confirmed that it provided the drug in what’s commonly known as a “compassionate use” request from the President’s physicians.
The therapy is known as REGN-COV2; the company calls it a “cocktail” of two monoclonal antibodies.
Polyclonal antibodies are made using several different immune cells, while monoclonal antibodies are made using identical immune cells that are clones of a specific parent cell.
To make its monoclonal antibody therapy, Regeneron scientists selected two antibodies that best neutralized a version of the novel coronavirus in the lab. They then cloned these antibodies and put it into a treatment. Regeneron is using two antibodies since they think it will work best as the virus mutates.
About Regeneron’s Covid-19 antibody therapy trials: The company started testing the treatment in humans in June. Early trials showed it was safe.
On Tuesday, the company announced results from the first 275 non-hospitalized patients in a late-stage trial that showed that the treatment was safe and seemed to reduce viral levels and improve symptoms in patients with Covid-19. The greatest improvements were seen in patients who hadn’t already mounted a detectable immune response to the novel coronavirus. The patients in the trial were younger than Trump; the average age was 44 years old. More than 40% of the patients were obese, like the President, and a total of 64% of the patients had one or more underlying risk factor for severe Covid-19.
The study results have not been peer-reviewed and only topline data was available from the company in a news release.
Outside infectious disease experts said the early results looked “very promising,” but they would need to see results from a larger number of patients.
What’s next: The company said it is continuing to study this therapy. There will be more data to come from this trial and from a trial involving hospitalized patients and one that is testing the antibody cocktail as prevention for people who have contact with someone in their household who has Covid-19.
Regeneron is in talks with regulators to see if the US Food and Drug Administration would consider an emergency authorization of the drug.
There are at least 70 different antibody treatments for Covid-19 under investigation.