- Coronavirus patients are asking to join clinical trials of antibody-based drugs after President Trump was given an experimental antibody therapy.
- Regeneron, the company that made the antibody cocktail given to Trump, told Business Insider that “generally we have seen an uptick in clinical trial interest overall in recent weeks.”
- And Reuters reported that doctors connected to Regeneron’s testing process saw more patients come forward wanting to be part of antibody trials after Trump, according to Reuters.
- Regeneron’s antibody cocktail has not yet been approved by regulators and is only available to those taking part in the trial.
- Trump has praised Regeneron’s treatment and called it a “cure,” though the company itself does not describe it as a cure and there is no evidence that this treatment has helped his condition.
- A doctor in a hospital where Regeneron treatments are tested said there is still not enough evidence to justify antibody treatments becoming widespread, but Trump’s outcome could put “pressure on regulators.”
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
More people are looking to take part in clinical trials for antibody-based coronavirus treatments after President Donald Trump was given one after his COVID-19 diagnosis.
Trump was given Regeneron’s antibody treatment, which is not yet approved by regulators, meaning that taking part in the trials is the only way to access it.
A Regeneron spokesperson told Business Insider that the company had seen “an uptick in clinical trial interest overall in recent weeks.”
And doctors involved in clinical trials of antibody-based treatments told Reuters that coronavirus patients are asking to sign up for those tests, even though there is not yet evidence such treatments are effective.
Dr. Gary Kleiner, a pediatric immunologist at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine and investigator in a trial for Regeneron’s treatment, told Reuters that he has been approached by patients who want the treatment.
Dr. Dirk Sostman, who heads the research network at a hospital where Regeneron’s antibody programs are being tested, also told Reuters that more patients are looking to take part in an antibody trial.
The Regeneron spokesperson told Business Insider that the increased interest at these sites was “good to hear.”
But they said that ” From our perspective, it’s a little too early to say if this attention will translate into additional clinical trial enrollees.”
And they said that Regeneron’s clinical trials are “still actively enrolling in multiple patient populations,” meaning the company is looking for more patients.
Regeneron’s experimental antibody cocktail was part of the treatment given to Trump after he was diagnosed with COVID-19 on October 1.
The president spent three nights in the hospital and was also given supplemental oxygen and a steroid typically used in severe COVID-19 cases.
He has repeatedly praised Regeneron’s treatment, including when he arrived back at the White House and during a Thursday interview with Fox News anchor Sean Hannity.
In a video from the hospital last week, Trump described the treatments that he received as “miracles coming down from God.”
On Wednesday, he also called Regeneron’s treatment a “cure.”
But there is currently no evidence as to what role any of his treatment played in how he recovered from the virus.
And, while Trump claims to be in “great shape,” the White House has given few details about his health or whether he is still infected.
‘Pressure on regulators’
Sostman, the research network head, told Reuters that he was concerned about antibody treatments being more widely used without more data being collected.
He said: “All we have seen are very brief press releases … so there is not much to go on,” he said.
He also warned that Trump’s treatment could lead to various coronavirus drugs being approved too quickly, saying: “The politics of the situation would suggest to me that the story could be Trump gets COVID … then American technology fostered by the Trump administration cures COVID.”
“I would think there would be pressure on regulators.”
Trump incorrectly claimed on Wednesday that he had authorised Regeneron’s treatment for emergency use. However, the company asked the Food and Drugs Administration for emergency approval of its antibody cocktail.
Regeneron does not claim its treatment is a cure, and said that 50,000 people will have access to the drug if it is approved.
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