Doctors record an increase in patient inquiries for an experimental Covid-19 vaccine combination after Donald Trump dubbed the Regeneron Pharmaceuticals vaccine “God’s gift” which is a “cure” for the virus.
Two physicians participating in the clinical trial told Reuters that more patients were asked to enroll in the drug trials, while medical experts pointed out that the drug, Regn-Cov2, was already too early in the trial cycle to confirm that it could assist with the treatment of Covid-19.
On Wednesday, just hours after Trump hailed the medication as a “cure” for the virus, Regeneron revealed that it had sent an application to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for an emergency drug authorization, which is a cocktail combination of two antibodies designed to help the immune system battle the virus.
Regeneron’s shares and the shares of Eli Lilly, another pharmaceutical firm performing anti-body drug research, grew Thursday after Trump confirmed treatment.
“Situation strategy would suggest to me that the story could be Trump gets COVID … so American technology fostered by Trump’s administration cures COVID,” said Dr. Dirk Sostman, Head of Clinical Network at Houston Methodist Hospital, the Regeneron Antibody Program trial site, who told Reuters that more patients were looking to take part in the trial. “I would think that there would be demand on the authorities [to approve the drug],” he said.
Although Trump said that “hundreds of thousands” of doses were available for use, Regeneron said that it only had enough doses for 50,000 patients and will provide enough for 300,000 patients in the coming months. The organization announced that 275 patients enrolled in the first phase of the clinical trial.
The US has more than 7.5 m confirmed cases of Covid-19, and more than 212,000 individuals have died of the disease, according to Johns Hopkins University.
Since the drug is in clinical trials, it is only open to people who are admitted to the study. With the permission of the FDA, drug makers can provide care to patients who do not enrol in the “compassionate use” trials, which are intended to make medications affordable to patients with life-threatening conditions who do not have alternative therapies available. Regeneron said only under 10 patients had been given their medications in compliance with the rules.
Doctors on Twitter have shared their worry over the prospect of a cure when the procedure is only in its infancy.
“I don’t know how this is working. We don’t talk about medical results because they haven’t been researched enough. Frankly, [Trump] is an anecdote, “said Dr. Rob Davidson, an emergency room physician in Michigan, Executive Director of the Committee to Protect Medicine, in a Twitter video.
Regeneron’s medication is just the newest medicine that Trump promises to be a cure for the virus without the proof that medical scientists believe it is important to properly prove that the treatment is safe and successful. Trump infamously revealed in the spring that he was taking antimalaria medication hydroxychloroquine in an effort to combat Covid-19, while the FDA cautioned against the use of the medication for that cause. Only a month later, the FDA withdrew its emergency drug authorization, citing increasing evidence that it did not operate to prevent the infection and that it had significant side effects.