President Donald Trump credited Regeneron Pharmaceutical’s experimental monoclonal antibody treatment for its apparent recovery from the coronavirus, and announced Wednesday his intention to authorize emergency use of the therapeutic and provide it free to Americans.
“I want everyone to receive the same treatment as their president, because I feel great,” Trump said in a video posted on Twitter.
“For me it was not therapeutic, it just made me feel better, okay? I call that a cure,” he said.
Trump added that he believed his brush with the virus was “a blessing from God” because it gave him first-hand experience with Regeneron monoclonal antibodies, which he described as “key” to his recovery.
Trump took the experimental treatment along with remdesivir, Gilead Sciences’ antiviral therapy, as well as the steroid dexamethasone. But the president said he specifically asked doctors to give him the Regeneron treatment.
Regeneron’s shares rose 2.7 percent in recent trading following the president’s remarks. Eli Lilly & Co, which makes a competitor antibody treatment also mentioned by Trump, jumped 1.7 percent.
Trump once again stated that he believed the United States would have a vaccine “very, very soon,” but said for the first time that it probably wouldn’t arrive until after the November 3 presidential election. The president blamed “politics” after the Food and Drug Administration released new standards on Tuesday that could delay authorization of a coronavirus vaccine until after the election.
Trump also claimed in the video, filmed on the South Lawn of the White House, that he did not believe he would have to be hospitalized over the weekend at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, but that doctors insisted because of his office.
“I went in, I didn’t feel good,” Trump said. “About 24 hours later, I was feeling great and wanted to get out of the hospital. And that’s what I want for everyone.
Trump’s doctors said Wednesday they were able to detect antibodies in his bloodstream in a test conducted Monday. Regeneron said in an email that his drug is likely responsible for the antibodies, rather than Trump producing them on his own.
However, it is impossible to know whether you feel better from that drug, Trump’s remdesivir treatment, or dexamethasone. It is also not clear if it is “cured”, since people with the virus sometimes get worse a week or more after showing the first symptoms.
Democratic candidate Joe Biden appeared to react skeptically to Trump’s decision to proclaim antibody treatment a “cure,” telling a reporter who asked him about the statement: “I hope you stay healthy.”
Biden also criticized Trump for calling his contact with the coronavirus a blessing.
“I think it is a tragedy that the president deals with COVID-19 as if it were something not to worry about when 210,000 people have already died in the country,” the former vice president told reporters in Wilmington. “I think it is a tragedy.”
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