The drug from Regeneron uses two monoclonal antibodies created in the laboratory that mimic the behavior of the immune system of an infected person. It binds to the virus and it cannot penetrate the cells where it replicates.
The FDA said in a permit that it could be given to people who have tested positive for a new coronavirus and are at risk of developing a serious covid-19 disease. However, it is not approved for use in individuals who are already hospitalized or require oxygen. Studies have shown that therapy is effective when given shortly after infection, the manufacturer said. Other drugs also usually work with timely administration, which also applies to many antivirals and not only those on covid-19.
Trump received the medicine at his own request after being diagnosed with coronavirus infection on October 19. He said that this was the one that helped him recover quickly. Construction Secretary Ben Carson even said that when Trump was seriously ill, he told him that “he is convinced that the monoclonal antibody therapy he received saved his life.” It is not clear what role the drug played in his recovery.
Regeneron said it had enough packs for 80,000 patients by the end of the month and would have 300,000 infected by the end of January.
The Regeneron preparation uses a combination of monoclonal antibodies, ie immunoglobulins, which are obtained from a clone of activated B-lymphocytes. These antibodies bind to the virus so that it cannot penetrate cells in the body and is even more detectable by the immune system.
The FDA hopes that experimental administration of REGN-COV-2 could help determine when the drug is most effective and if it has side effects.