While hospitalized at Walter Reed Medical Center, President Donald Trump has received his first dose of remdesivir — a COVID-19 treatment with emergency FDA authorization — White House physician Sean Conley said in a memo Friday night.
Trump announced that he and First Lady Melania Trump had tested positive for the coronavirus early Friday. The two went into isolation, per CDC guidelines, but later that evening Trump walked across the White House lawn to a helicopter that transferred him to Walter Reed Medical Center. At the time, he was experiencing a fever, cough, congestion, and fatigue, aides told The New York Times.
Conley wrote in the memo that the president is “doing very well,” and he “is not requiring any supplemental oxygen,” adding that Trump completed his first dose of the drug, and is “resting comfortably.”
—Kayleigh McEnany (@PressSec) October 3, 2020
Trump has also received Regeneron’s experimental antibody drug, REGN-COV2, according to Conley.
Remdesivir, developed by biotechnology giant Gilead Sciences, is given as a five-day or 10-day infusion. Studies have shown that it can help hospitalized patients with COVID-19 recover faster than they do with a placebo.
The anti-viral drug, which had previously failed as an Ebola therapy, became the first effective coronavirus treatment option and received emergency authorization from the FDA in May. Convalescent plasma is the only other COVID-19 treatment that has received FDA authorization.
“Antiviral drugs, if they are to be effective, likely must be administered early in the course of the illness during viral replication,” Peter Hotez, a vaccine scientist and Dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine, said of the president’s two drug treatments on Twitter.
“‘Watch and wait’ [is] not an option,” he added. “If you are going to do it and maximize the effectiveness of these two interventions you pretty much either do it now or not at all.”
Trump is male, 74 years old, and obese — all factors that substantially increase his likelihood of severe illness and death from the coronavirus.
A number of other individuals surrounding Trump also tested positive for the coronavirus on Friday, including ex-Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway and Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien.
Shortly before being transferred to Walter Reed, Trump broke his Twitter silence Friday night, tweeting “Going well, I think! Thank you to all. LOVE!!!”
It was his first tweet since announcing that he and the First Lady had tested positive for the virus.
—Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 3, 2020
This post has been updated with new information. It was originally published on Friday, October 2.
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