World Events

Sen. Thom Tillis tests positive for coronavirus

President Trump is now “in a race” against coronavirus, the CEO of biotechnology company Regeneron said after the drug maker provided a dose of its experimental antibody treatment to the President on Friday.

“He’s in a race where his immune system is racing against the virus, and if the virus wins you can have dire consequences, obviously, and what our antibodies do is we make it a fair fight,” Dr. Leonard Schleifer told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer.

“He’s in a higher risk group for a variety of reasons such as being older, and if we give our antibodies, we hope that we will give his immune system enough of a boost so that he can win this and make a complete recovery,” Schleifer said.

“That’s the strategy. We’ve got a lot of data but we’re still in the experimental phase, but when you’re in the midst of a pandemic and you have people at risk, we think it makes sense to try these,” he added. 

Regeneron’s experimental monoclonal antibody treatment is still in large-scale clinical trials, but Schleifer said it is available for compassionate use, something the US Food and Drug and Administration has to approve on an individual basis.

Trump received a single 8 gram dose of Regeneron’s dual antibody cocktail Friday and completed the infusion without incident, the President’s physician, Dr. Sean Conley, said in a statement.

A single high-dose should do the trick, Schleifer said. “It’s a large enough dose, so that it’ll last for quite a long time, hopefully even beyond when he’s made a complete recovery,” Schleifer said. “We have evidence ready that these are long lasting in the body, as you’d expect with this type of therapy.”

The cocktail includes two monoclonal antibodies—lab-engineered versions of immune system proteins targeted specifically against coronavirus. “It’s not all that complicated. We’re just trying to mimic the natural immune system, which really isn’t ready to go when the virus is already going,” Schliefer said.

Schleifer says Regeneron is seeing promising results in its clinical trials of the treatment.

Schleifer would not say whether first lady Melania Trump received the same experimental treatment.


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