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Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Explained: The experimental cocktail President Trump is taking for Covid-19

The cocktail is a combination of two monoclonal antibodies -- REGN10933 and REGN10987 -- designed “specifically” to block the infectivity of SARS-CoV-2.

Written by Prabha Raghavan , Edited by Explained Desk | New Delhi | October 3, 2020 6:01:08 pm
Donald Trump, Donald Trump coronavirus, Donald Trump covid, Trump covid positive, Trump covid treatment, Explained Health, Express Explained, Indian ExpressPresident Donald Trump arrives at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, in Bethesda, Md., Friday, Oct. 2, 2020, on Marine One helicopter after he tested positive for COVID-19. White House chief of staff Mark Meadows is at second from left. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

American President Donald Trump began receiving an experimental antibody cocktail as part of his Covid-19 treatment.

What is this therapy?

REGN-COV2 is an investigational antibody cocktail which has shown reduced viral load and time to alleviate the symptoms in non-hospitalised patients, according to Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc, the firm that has developed it.

The cocktail is a combination of two monoclonal antibodies — REGN10933 and REGN10987 — designed “specifically” to block the infectivity of SARS-CoV-2.

When did this come in and the research behind it?

The cocktail is undergoing a seamless phase 1/2/3 clinical trial in the US. In the first phase, 275 patients have received it, while a total of 1,300 patients will be recruited in the second and third phases.

The trials for this drug began in June. Over 2,000 people have enrolled across the drug’s development programme and no unexpected safety findings have been reported by the trial’s independent data monitoring committee, according to the company.

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Who has tried it out before?

In addition to this trial in non-hospitalised patients, REGN-COV2 is currently being studied in a Phase 2/3 clinical trial for the treatment of COVID-19 in hospitalised patients, according to Regeneron. It is also being studied in Phase 3 open-label RECOVERY trial of hospitalised patients in the UK and a Phase 3 trial for the prevention of COVID-19 in household contacts of infected individuals. Recruitment in all 4 trials is ongoing.

More from Explained | Implications of Donald Trump testing Covid-19 positive — for the presidency, and for the election race

Does it work in combination with any other drugs?

Since the drug has not been given an Emergency Use Authorisation (EUA) by the US Food and Drug Administration (US FDA), it can be used as an experimental treatment for compassionate use. As it is undergoing trials, there is no fixed combination of drugs with which this cocktail is given.

Trump has been prescribed REGN-COV2 in combination with zinc, vitamin D and the generic version of antacid Pepcid, according to The New York Times.

Also in Explained | What is the 25th amendment that can be invoked if President Donald Trump falls seriously ill?

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