BUFFALO, N.Y. — As we learn more about the President Donald Trump's condition, and how he's being treated for COVID-19, we're finding out he took a drug cocktail made by the company Regeneron. It is a drug cocktail that is part of a trial at ECMC.
Monday, 2 On Your Side talked with a doctor who is familiar with that treatment and how it's potentially able to fight the virus by boosting the body's immune system.
Dr. Brian Murray is the Chief Medical Officer at ECMC. He says the drug doesn't have a name yet, and in order to be part of the trial here, you have to be in the hospital with COVID-19.
"I think it's potentially very promising because basically we have seen recently in the patients we've treated with the combination of Remdesivir and convalescent plasma, that they don't seem to be getting as sick," Murray said. "They seem to be recovering sooner than the patients we saw early on when the treatments were not available to us. The Regeneron cocktail contains much higher levels of antibody to the virus than the convalescent plasma that we're administering currently. So, yes, the early studies are very encouraging. We're really hopeful that they similar studies in hospitalized patients will also show a benefit."
Murray says, though, the most important thing is not to get the virus in the first place. He says to wear a mask, stay socially distant, and don't gather in large groups — especially inside.
But ECMC is having difficulty recruiting patients. First of all, patients have to be hospitalized to be part of the trial, but that isn't the issue.
When they get to the hospital, they're offered a number of treatments including Remdesivir, which the president also has taken, and treatment with convalescent plasma, and most patients also get the option to be treated with steroids. A lot of people want the plasma treatment, and if they do that, they can't be part of the trial.
And, there's a bigger issue.
"They're not guaranteed to obtain, to receive, the antibody. The trial is a randomized control trial which means that some patients get the antibody, but other patients get placebo," Murray said.
The way the trial works, you'd have a 66-percent chance of getting the antibody.
Murray says it will be interesting to see if more patients are interested in this trial after finding out the president took this drug cocktail as part of his treatment.