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Medical expert explains President Trump's COVID-19 treatment Remdesivir

Posted at 5:35 PM, Oct 03, 2020

President Donald Trump remains in the hospital as he's being treated for COVID-19.

His doctors today saying he’s in good spirits and has been fever free today, they also say he’s been treated with two different drugs. What are they and how do they work together?

We went to a medical expert to try to get some clarity.

“About 48 hours ago the president received a special antibody therapy directed against the coronavirus, working closely with the companies and monitoring him,” said Navy Commander Dr. Sean Conley. “Yesterday he received Remdesivir, and the plan is to continue a five-day treatment course for Remdesivir.”

What is Remdesivir?

Dr. Mangala Narasimhan, who’s been at Northwell Health for 13 years and has treated hundreds of COVID-19 patients explains.

“Remdesivir is an anti-viral agent and it attacks the virus with hopes of making it less lethal and deadly," she said. "If you give Remdesivir early in the course before patients are really sick, you can prevent them from progressing on to a higher level of illness.”

Doctors have recently been using the anti-viral drug on COVID-19 patients, but not the antibody cocktail produced by Regeneron Pharmaceuticals the president is also taking, because it hasn’t been FDA-approved.

“Basically what your body does when it sees a virus it produces an antibody, so this is taking an antibody that was produced and cloning it so that produced in higher levels and giving it directly to you,” said Dr. Narasimhan. "The anti-viral cocktail is new, started developing in June, is not FDA-approved but they got it through a compassionate use for the president. We're not sure what side effects are.”

The hope is that both treatments together will slow down the progression of the president’s coronavirus but it’s still unclear how his age, weight and the new drug waiting for FDA-approval will play into his recovery.

“The two together are unknown for sure,” Dr. Narasimhan said. “The plus is you’ll stop the progression of COVID-19.”

The president’s doctors say they are monitoring him closely not just for any COVID-19 complications but also for any effects the treatments may have on him.

This story was first reported by Jennifer Bisram at PIX11 in New York, New York.