Reporters in the White House Press Pool confirmed late Friday that President Donald Trump, who tested positive for coronavirus alongside his wife Melania last night, was being flown to Walter Reed Medical Center for the next few days as they monitor his condition. Trump’s physician, Sean Conley, also updated on his treatment saying that Trump was “fatigued but in good spirits” and that he had received a dose of an experimental antibody cocktail made by Regeneron.
“Following PCR-confirmation of the President’s diagnosis, as a precautionary measure he received a single eight gram dose of Regeneron’s polyclonal antibody cocktail,” Conley said. “He completed the infusion without incident. In addition to the polyclonal antibodies, the President has been taking zinc, vitamin D, famotidine, melatonin and a daily asprin.”
On Twitter, shortly following the news, Jeremy Faust MD, MS, Instructor in Emergency Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, left a short voice memo message on Twitter expressing concerns for the president being a “guinea pig” for a treatment that has yet to see significant positive results in clinical trials.
“I’m very concerned about the president’s team giving him an unvetted, untested treatment. This has not been shown to work in clinical trials and this is a problem,” he said. “Either they don’t know that and can’t read the medical literature [or] they do know that and they’re being overridden by the president and whatever advice he may be getting from someone else who hasn’t really appropriately addressed the literature and understood what it said.”
Voice memo to you all. pic.twitter.com/fmVqK1WO48
— Jeremy Faust MD MS (ER physician) (@jeremyfaust) October 2, 2020
Faust also notes that the messaging behind giving the president this unvetted, experimental drug is concerning both for what it means for the President (noting that he’s “worried that this reflects their desperation” or that the president is in danger of dying) and that it sends worrisome messages to other Americans who test positive for the virus.
“People will see this and think ‘this is the treatment that you should have’ and that if we don’t give this treatment to other people who have coronavirus we are denying them special treatment,” he said. In reality that isn’t the case. We shouldn’t be giving the president this medication until it has been proven to work, we shouldn’t be giving it to anybody. We shouldn’t be treating the president as a guinea pig pig and experimenting on him — which is just a nice way of saying giving somethihg that we don’t know if it works or not.”
Faust also notes that these kinds of treatments can have serious side effects that could be “really, really serious.”
“We need people to know that and it’s just very alarming and it’s a setback for science,” he said. “We need to move forward with the best treatments possible — whether you are the president of the United States or anyone else.”
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