President Trump pushes experimental coronavirus drug for public use

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WASHINGTON (NewsNation Now) — President Donald Trump posted a nearly 5-minute video on Twitter Wednesday saying he plans to make an experimental coronavirus treatment, which has not been approved for use beyond a clinical trial, available and free to the public.

“This was a blessing from God that I caught it,” Trump said about his diagnosis in the video recorded outside the Oval Office.

The president received the experimental treatment called REGN-COV2, a cocktail of two monoclonal antibodies, last week. The manufacturer, Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc., told NewsNation in a statement that they received a request from the president’s physicians to provide a dose.

The dose for the president was an investigational COVID-19 therapy and was provided in response to an individual patient investigational new drug (IND) application from the president’s physicians.

“They gave me Regeneron, and it was like unbelievable,” Trump said in the video posted Wednesday. “I felt good immediately. I felt as good three days ago as I do now. So I just want to say, we have Regeneron, we have a very similar drug from Eli Lilly, and they’re coming out and we’re trying to get them on an emergency basis. We’ve authorized it. I’ve authorized it.”

Last week, Regeneron announced early data suggesting the therapeutic treatment reduces viral levels and improved symptoms in non-hospitalized COVID-19 patients.

The company said on Wednesday that it has submitted a request to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for an emergency use authorization (EUA) for its antibody combination.

“Under our agreement with the U.S. government for the initial doses of REGN-COV2, if an EUA is granted the government has committed to making these doses available to the American people at no
cost and would be responsible for their distribution,” Regeneron said in its statement. “At this time, there are doses available for approximately 50,000 patients, and we expect to have doses available for 300,000
patients in total within the next few months.”

The FDA told NewsNation that the agency cannot comment on any potential or pending applications.

The country’s top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, said on CNN Monday that he was “strongly suspicious” that Regeneron’s drug has contributed to the president’s progress.

“Obviously you can’t prove that until you do a number of studies to show that it actually works,” he said.

Regeneron has received $450 million from the U.S. government for up to 300,000 doses of the dual-antibody cocktail. The company’s shares, up nearly 6% so far this month, closed at $591.69 on Wednesday.

Eli Lilly and Co, a drugmaker also referenced by Trump in his latest video, also said Wednesday that it has applied for emergency use authorization for its experimental COVID-19 antibody treatment. The company also plans to pursue a similar approval for a dual antibody therapy next month.

Eli Lilly said its two-antibody cocktail helped reduce viral levels more than the single antibody treatment had in a prior study. The lower viral load was potentially tied to a reduction in COVID-19 symptoms, the company said.

Lilly’s shares rose 3.4% on Wednesday to close at $148.96.

Reuters contributed to this report.