President Donald Trump, who was hospitalized at Walter Reed Military Medical Center on Friday following a positive coronavirus test, has begun receiving the intravenous antiviral drug remdesivir, which doctors have used to treat some cases of Covid-19.
White House physician Dr. Sean Conley has said the president has symptoms that include a low-grade fever, cough, congestion, and fatigue. He issued a memo late Friday saying that Trump “is doing very well.”
“He is not requiring any supplemental oxygen, but in consultation with specialists we have elected to initiate remdesivir therapy. He has completed his first dose and is resting comfortably,” reads the statement.
Remdesivir is allowed for treatment under an emergency use authorization (EUA), which the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) grants for treatment of illnesses “when there are no adequate, approved, and available alternatives.”
It is not yet clear how severe Trump’s case is; though remdesivir is typically used for moderate to severe cases, it is possible Trump’s doctors are erring on the side of aggressively treating him, given his responsibilities as the leader of the United States.
Trump announced his diagnosis early Friday morning, and, not long after, received an initial dose of the experimental monoclonal antibody treatment. The experimental treatment is currently undergoing testing in clinical trials conducted by Regeneron, a biotech company, but does not have authorization from the FDA.
Trump was authorized by doctors to use the monoclonal cocktail under compassionate use guidelines. Regeneron has said its research so far has found the treatment, known as REGN-COV2, to reduce symptoms and the presence of the virus in those with Covid-19. Regeneron’s research has yet to be peer-reviewed, Irfan notes, so it is difficult to know how well REGN-COV2 actually works.
For now, the president has only had a single dose of the experimental treatment before beginning the more routine treatment of remdesivir. Conley said Trump is also taking some vitamins and supplements, including vitamin D, which White House coronavirus task force member Dr. Anthony Fauci has recommended taking in order to reduce “susceptibility to infection.”