REGN-COV2 is the experimental medication which has recently garnered attention after it was administered to President Trump as part of his treatment for COVID-19. Regeneron is the biotech company that developed the antibody cocktail which has not yet been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
Dr. Faisal Alfonso Fakih is a doctor based in Central Florida who has partnered with Regeneron to study the medication’s effects on some of his patients. He says the medicine, referred to as REGN-COV2, contains two monoclonal antibodies.
REGN-COV2 started being tested on COVID-19 in June, according to Fakih. It is not yet on the market, but it was given to the president under the FDA’s compassionate use program. The nation’s leader claims the drug cured him from COVID.
“We really cannot say because he also received two other medications that could have made his conditions improve. And we also cannot say because sometimes the virus acts in a very mild form and it may have just been one of those mild forms,” said the researcher.
In a recent statement by Regeneron, they stated preclinical studies showed REGN-COV2 reduced the amount of virus and the time to alleviate symptoms in non-hospitalized patients with COVID-19. Doctor Fakih says the drug is similar to a convalescent plasma treatment without the drawbacks.
“The issue is when you give this plasma, you are given not only the antibodies, but also a slew of many other things that people have in their body,” Fakih said.
The doctor also says that the mix of two mono-clonal antibodies has the potential to curb the pandemic as much as, or more, than a vaccine.
“I think we’re going to have medications that work better against the virus before a full vaccine gets approved. Or perhaps the vaccine will be approved at the same time," Dr. Fakih said.
"However, one thing is for the vaccine to be approved and another is for everyone to be vaccinated. We see this treatment as a bridge to the vaccine."
Regeneron has put an Emergency Use Authorization request to the FDA, which if granted, would approve this medication before the phase 3 trials are completed. Some people have concerns about how safe that would be.
“This is not something that is unusually done," Dr. Fakih said. "In these times with this pandemic, I would imagine, it should be done sooner, and then I have to say that regeneron is not the only one applying for this."