WASHINGTON, D.C., USA — Regeneron is a pharmaceuticals company in Rensselaer, N.Y. with a track record of developing treatments for infectious diseases, including ebola. Zika and SARS, according to its website.
Here's a timeline of the development of its experimental antibody cocktail given to President Trump.
Scientists at Regeneron began working on an antibody cocktail in January when they first heard about a deadly virus in China. They developed REGN-COV2 and began testing it in mice that are genetically engineered to have immune systems similar to humans.
By June, Regeneron scientists had moved the two potent antibodies that form REGN-COV2 into cell production lines for manufacturing purposes and begun clinical trials. The antibody cocktail is being studied as a potential treatment for people with COVID-19 to help them develop their own antibodies to fight the infection. It’s also being looked at as a preventative for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.
In September, Regeneron President and Chief Scientist Dr. George Dr. Yancopoulos said they’re very encouraged by the response from 275 patients in a clinical trial. "The greatest treatment benefit was in patients who had not mounted their own effective immune response, suggesting that REGN-COV2 could provide a therapeutic substitute for the naturally-occurring immune response,” Dr. Yancopoulos said. “These patients were less likely to clear the virus on their own, and were at greater risk for prolonged symptoms.” According to Regeneron, the only “serious adverse affects” occurred in one low-dose patient and two patients who received the placebo. There were no deaths.
Experts are also cautiously optimistic about the antibody cocktail. They are “a real best chance of being a game changer,” NIH Director Francis S. Collins told the Washington Post earlier this week. But Regeneron points out on its website that "REGN-COV2 is an investigational medicine, and its safety and efficacy have not been fully evaluated by any regulatory authority."
On Friday, October 2, President Trump was given a single one-gram dose of a “Regeneron polyclonal antibiotic cocktail,” his physician Dr. Sean P. Conley said in a statement. “He completed the infusion without incident. The president has been taking zinc, vitamin D, famotidine, melatonin and a daily aspirin.” Shortly after the statement was released, the president was flown to Walter Reed Military Hospital on Marine One for treatment of COVID-19. The White House has since released a video from President Trump he said “I think I’m doing very well but we're going to make sure that things work out."