ENTERTAINMENT

The experimental Regeneron drug used to treat Trump has shown promise in studies


President Donald Trump is being treated with an experimental coronavirus antibody cocktail developed by Regeneron, the White House said on Friday.

"After the president's diagnosis was confirmed by PCR, he received a single dose of 8 grams of Regneron's polyclonal antibody cocktail as a precaution," wrote the doctor, Dr. Sean Conley in a White House memo to the President.

Dr. Conley added that the Trump took zinc, vitamin D, famotidine (the generic name for Pepcid AC), melatonin, and daily aspirin.

The REGN-COV2 cocktail contains an antibody that the company made from mice and another that was isolated from a recovered COVID-19 patient. Any of these antibodies can help neutralize the coronavirus.

Regeneron's latest data from ongoing studies shows that the drug lowered viral loads in patients who were not hospitalized and cut their recovery times by nearly half.

But it's very much an experimental treatment, and the data announced earlier this week is the first to be published from the study.

Two patients treated with the antibody cocktail had "adverse events" – adverse side effects. One of these was a "serious" adverse event, but Regeneron did not reveal any details about what happened to the patient who received a low dose of the drug.

Regeneron's latest data from ongoing studies shows that the drug lowered viral loads in patients who were not hospitalized and cut their recovery times by nearly half

After testing positive for COVID-19, the president will be treated with an experimental coronavirus antibody drug from Regeneron

After testing positive for COVID-19, the president will be treated with an experimental coronavirus antibody drug from Regeneron

WHAT IS A POLYCLONAL ANTIBODY MEDICINE AND HOW CAN IT TREAT CORONAVIRUS?

REGN-COV2 is a duo of therapeutics in a class of drugs known as monoclonal antibodies (hence the differentiation of REGN-COV2 as a "polyclonal antibody"), which are antibody clones that target a specific antigen.

These groups of antibodies act as neutralized pathogens such as viruses, bacteria or even cancerous tumors.

Although they are made in the laboratory, they mimick immune cells that naturally develop in humans or animals when exposed to disease.

The drug class is considered one of the most exciting areas of development in current medical research because it can be tailored to treat so many diseases and programmed to leave healthy cells alone.

Scientists with expertise in viral infectious diseases and immunology have watched the development of mono- or polyclonal antibody therapeutics for COVID-19 like Regnerons and Eli Lillys with anticipation.

These groups of antibodies act as neutralized pathogens such as viruses, bacteria or even cancerous tumors.

Although they are made in the laboratory, they mimick immune cells that naturally develop in humans or animals when exposed to disease.

There are different types of antibodies that fight infections. The most effective of these are "neutralizing" antibodies. These bind to the virus and completely block its ability to enter human cells.

Antibody treatments follow a similar logic to vaccines. Vaccines contain weak or dead versions of viruses that “teach” the body to make antibodies to fight the real things.

Therapies like Regeneron's introduce the antibodies themselves to treat or possibly prevent the infection.

It's a more precise and targeted approach to treating coronaviruses than reusing existing drugs like the antiviral remdesivir in hopes that they will slow down or stop the new virus.

Because these treatments are entirely new, scientists have been developing and testing them in the lab over the past few months, with antibody treatments lagging slightly behind schedule for testing and approval of drugs like remdesivir or hydroxychloroquine.

However, finding or making a perfect antibody is a huge challenge. Therefore Regeneron's drug uses a “cocktail” of these antibodies.

REGENERON'S DRUGS DRY VIRAL LOADS AND CUT COVID-19 RECOVERY TIMES IN HALF IN EARLY PROCESSES

The latest study of the drug tests it on at least 1,300 patients to see how people on high and low doses fare compared to people on a placebo.

Data published this week on the first 275 enrolled patients are encouraging.

All patients included had laboratory-confirmed diagnoses with coronavirus. About 45 percent of them also tested positive for antibodies before treatment, 41 percent had no antibodies, and 14 percent had no antibodies.

Half of the group received placebo treatment. The remainder of the patients were divided into high or low dose treatment groups, with single infusions of either 2.4 g or 8 g of the drug, respectively.

In patients with a higher low exposure, coronavirus levels fell 50 to 60 percent further than in patients who received the placebo within a week of treatment, regardless of whether they received the high or low dose.

In those with the highest viral load, the viral load fell almost twice as much as in those treated who received the placebo.

Symptoms subsided within 13 days on average in those who received the sham treatment.

It took about half as long for patients to feel better after receiving the antibody cocktail. Those who received a high dose had mild or no symptoms within eight days. Patients who received a low dose were almost symptom-free within an average of six days.

Nobody who participated in the study, which only recruited patients who were not sick enough to be hospitalized at the time they joined, died during the course of the study.

Two patients who received the antibody cocktail drug had side effects. One of them was "serious" although it is not clear what exactly happened to that person.

It is being tested separately for both prevention and treatment of the virus, with a late-stage prevention effort in partnership with the National Institutes of Health.

WHAT ARE THE POSSIBLE HAZARDS OF THE EXPERIMENTAL ANTIBODY COCKTAIL?

Regardless of whether a single antibody or multiple antibodies are given, the main safety concern with these treatments is a phenomenon known as antibody-dependent enhancement (ABE).

In ABE, antibodies accidentally load a viral infection, making it worse than better. ABE is difficult to predict without thorough testing.

However, the better a neutralizing antibody matches the virus, the lower the likelihood that the pathogen will direct the antibodies against a patient.

So far, there is no evidence that Regeneron's drug caused this problem in study participants, but testing is ongoing.

(tagsToTranslate) Dailymail (t) Health (t) Coronavirus (t) Donald Trump