- President Trump is being treated with remdesivir at Walter Reed Hospital after experiencing coronavirus symptoms that White House spokespeople say are mild.
- Trump had previously received a cocktail of experimental drugs that have shown efficacy in recent COVID-19 trials.
- The White House doctor confirmed Trump received an experimental drug from Regeneron along with zinc, vitamin D, famotidine, melatonin, and daily aspirin.
Sixteen hours after confirming late Thursday night that he and his wife Melania tested positive for coronavirus, President Trump made his first public appearance. He was seen walking from the White House to a helicopter and then flown to Walter Reed, the hospital where presidents are treated, and where he’ll remain under observation for a few days. “President Trump remains in good spirits, has mild symptoms, and has been working throughout the day,” Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany said in a statement. “Out of an abundance of caution, and at the recommendation of his physician and medical experts, the President will be working from the presidential offices at Walter Reed for the next few days. President Trump appreciates the outpouring of support for both he and the First Lady.”
Trump posted a clip on Twitter where he confirmed he was going to Walter Reed, saying at the time that was doing very well. This was his first message since confirming his COVID-19 diagnosis. The President walked on his own to Marine One, wearing a suit and a tie. The White House physician, Navy Cmdr. Dr. Sean Conley, confirmed Trump’s mild symptoms and said he would receive remdesivir at the hospital. In addition to that, Trump got a cocktail of drugs at the White House that included a new COVID-19 drug that’s still in clinical testing. Of note, the list of meds Trump has received so far does not include the drug he often touted as a potential COVID-19 cure, hydroxychloroquine.
“This evening, I’m happy to report that the President is doing very well. He is not requiring any supplemental oxygen, but in consultation with specialists, we have elected to initiate Remdesivir therapy,” Conley wrote in a memo. “He has completed his first dose and is resting comfortably.”
Remdesivir is the first anti-viral that showed efficacy against the novel coronavirus in clinical trials. The drug can shorten the recovery time for patients, but it can’t prevent all deaths and complications.
Trump’s age, weight, gender, and additional comorbidities are risk factors for COVID-19 complications. Trump also suffers from a common form of heart disease, Deadline reports, citing previous reports on Trump’s general health.
A source told CNN that Trump was spooked after his diagnosis was confirmed. He became increasingly alarmed as he developed symptoms, including a fever overnight.
One of Trump’s advisers said there is cause for concern about the President’s health. “This is serious,” the unnamed person said, adding that Trump was very tired, very fatigued, and had some trouble breathing. A top administration official said that Trump was “OK for now, but our fear is that things can change quick.” Officials have serious concerns about Trump’s health, the report notes. A different source said that Trump’s condition is worse than Melania’s.
Another White House official said there is no reason for the public to be alarmed, and that Trump’s condition wasn’t deteriorating. Earlier in the afternoon, Conley said that Trump remained “fatigued but in good spirits.”
The doctor continued, “He’s being evaluated by a team of experts, and together we’ll be making recommendations to the President and First Lady in regards to next best steps.”
Conley also revealed that Trump had been given Regeneron’s polyclonal antibody drug REGN-COV2 that made the news a few days ago. Additionally, the President received zinc, vitamin D, famotidine, melatonin, and daily aspirin. Anyone familiar with coronavirus drug studies has heard of most of these drugs.
The Regeneron drug contains multiple monoclonal antibodies that can neutralize the virus. The company announced the conclusions of a study of COVID-19 outpatients who were treated with the experimental drug. The scientists found that the drug has helped patients who have not developed their own antibodies in response to the infection, boosting the immune response against the illness. The studies aren’t final and it’s still unclear if or when Regeneron will seek FDA approval. Some say that the decision to give Trump an experimental monoclonal antibody cocktail illustrates the White House’s concern about Trump’s prognosis.
Trump received 8mg of REGN-COV2, a dose that was mentioned in this week’s trial results. The drug is administered intravenously.
Vitamin D has made the news recently as well. An increasing number of studies have shown that patients with vitamin D deficiency are more likely to experience COVID-19 complications. Zinc is a mineral that plays a role in the immune response following infections.
Famotidine is a drug some people might be familiar with, as it’s an over-the-counter drug that treats heartburn. But famotidine also happens to be the subject of COVID-19 studies, as the drug might be effective against the novel coronavirus.
Aspirin can be used to mitigate pain and inflammation, but it’s also a treatment used to prevent heart attacks, strokes, and blood clots. COVID-19 can lead to heart attacks and strokes, as the virus impacts the blood vessel and favors the formation of clots. Blood thinners have proven to be an effective COVID-19 therapy for reducing complications.
Least known for COVID-19 therapy is melatonin, although there’s been some talk about the drug’s potential efficiency against the novel coronavirus. The data isn’t as clear as it is with the other drugs that Trump has received so far. Melatonin can also be used to treat sleeping disorders.
First Lady Melania Trump had a mild cough and a headache, according to Conley. It’s unclear what kind of drugs she has been given so far.