Even if Regeneron’s manufactured antibodies are working for the president, the ripple effects could harm the pandemic response down the line.
Soon after President Trump spiked a fever, shares of Regeneron, a pharmaceutical company he has previously invested in, also shot up—along with interest in the company’s experimental Covid-19 treatment. The president, his doctor announced within hours of the public learning that Trump had tested positive for SARS-CoV-2, had received the company’s monoclonal antibodies cocktail, which has not been fully tested in humans yet. (His doctor initially incorrectly called the treatment a “polyclonal antibody cocktail,” but it’s actually a dose of two monoclonal antibodies—highly effective antibodies manufactured in a lab to target the virus.) Trump has several ties to the company: He previously owned stock in both Regeneron and Gilead (the maker of the antiviral remdesivir that Trump is also taking), and Regeneron’s founder and CEO, Leonard S. Schleifer, belongs to Trump’s golf club in Westchester County, New York.
The announcement worried experts, and not just because of the potential side effects of taking untested treatments. No matter the outcome of Trump’s illness, using an experimental treatment with such a high-profile official could make it impossible to know whether and how the treatment actually works. That’s particularly troubling in the case of cloned antibodies, which researchers had been particularly enthusiastic about testing, given their potential. Read more at The New Republic.
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