PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — After President Donald Trump claimed he was cured of COVID-19 by an experimental treatment, the company that makes it, Regeneron, asked the FDA for emergency approval late Wednesday night. The president says he wants it to be available to all Americans for free.
However, there’s big pushback from the medical community.
Doctors say, first, the antibody treatment the president is getting needs to be proven to be safe and effective.
The president is also being treated with other medications, so there’s no way to tell what’s working. And, they add, many patients recover from COVID-19 without any treatments.
“I felt good immediately,” Trump said. “It just made me better. OK, I call that a cure.”
Trump says the antibody treatment he received from Regeneron has cured his coronavirus.
“We don’t really know whether the antibody had any role in him getting better,” said Dr. John Zurlo with Jefferson Hospital.
Zurlo says, the president’s improvement could be from one or a combination of the treatments he’s receiving that includes the steroid dexamethasone, remdisivir and the experimental antibody cocktail.
The Regeneron cocktail is still in clinical trials and it was approved for the president as compassionate use.
Monoclonal antibodies are manufactured to boost the immune response. It’s a promising treatment for many diseases, if testing proves it’s safe and effective .
“So, I think this is a positive development but frankly, until we see the data, I don’t know that,” Zurlo said.
Regeneron filed for emergency approval following the president’s pronouncement and said it currently has enough doses for roughly 50,000 patients, with plans to expand to 300,000 within the next few months.
But, according to one analysis, the treatment would cost the average American over $100,000.
“The question is, who do we designate this therapy to?” Zurlo asked.
TO MY FAVORITE PEOPLE IN THE WORLD! pic.twitter.com/38DbQtUxEu
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 8, 2020
On Thursday afternoon on the White House lawn, the president directed new comments to fellow seniors.
“I want you to get the same care that I got,” Trump said.
Trump is giving the impression that he would push the FDA to approve Regeneron’s treatment, even though the agency’s scientists are supposed to make independent decisions about approvals.
There has been no reaction from the FDA.