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Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Trump says coronavirus cure is imminent


President Donald Trump declared that an experimental coronavirus drug he was given last week is a cure for the deadly virus and promised that it and similar medicines would soon be available for free to all Americans.

Those bold promises — before the treatment has even been approved — come as polls suggest that support for Democratic challenger Joe Biden is growing in the final weeks of the presidential campaign, as Trump’s administration wrestles with coronavirus outbreak that in the last week has sickened the president, his wife, key White House aides and other staff and advisers.

The president made the remarks standing in front of the Oval Office on Wednesday afternoon in a roughly five-minute-long video posted to Twitter.

“Hi, perhaps you recognize me — it’s your favorite president,” Trump said, one day after being discharged from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, where he was treated for Covid-19.

“I wasn’t feeling so hot and within a short period of time they gave me Regeneron,” he said, referring to drug company that makes the experimental antibody cocktail he received. “It was unbelievable. I felt good immediately. I felt as good three days ago as I do now.”

Trump later said of the drug, “I call that a cure," and suggested that his infection was "a blessing from god" that revealed the drug's promise. "I think if I didn't catch [the virus] we'd be looking at that like a bunch of other drugs."

The president for months has also been promising that a coronavirus vaccine is imminent, often pledging to make it available by Election Day. Late-stage clinical trials are underway, but no vaccine maker has yet sought emergency authorization or approval from the Food and Drug Administration — and now Trump is focused on the experimental antibody drugs as cures.

He added that his administration would authorize emergency use of Regeneron’s treatment, and a similar antibody drug from Eli Lilly, and would soon make them available to the public. Lilly has said that it is seeking emergency authorization from the Food and Drug Administration, while Regeneron has revealed that it's in talks with the agency.

“If you’re in the hospital and feeling really bad, I think we’re going to work it so that you get them and you’re going to get them free,” Trump said, adding that the government had “hundreds of thousands of doses that were nearly available.”

The two antibody treatments are now being tested in clinical trials, and scientists have greeted the limited early data released as promising. But the drugs are far from a slam-dunk. Regeneron and Lilly have said that their antibodies help Covid-19 patients clear the coronavirus from their bodies, and appear to speed recovery, but it is not clear whether the drugs reduce the risk of death. Trump has also taken several other medications, including a steroid and the antiviral drug remdesivir.




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