Earlier this month, US President Donald Trump was diagnosed with Covid-19. However, within 9 days, he became virus-free. What made a 74-year-old man, recover so fast when the pandemic has already taken 119K+ lives globally?
Crux of the Matter
Antibody Cocktail By Regeneron
After returning to the White House, Trump posted a video on Twitter, stating that it was a “blessing from God” that he had been infected with Covid-19 and that drug maker, Regeneron’s antibody treatment containing 2 monoclonal antibodies, had made him feel “better than he felt 23 years ago”.
What Is An Antibody?
They are the “search-and-destroy” force of the immune system. These Y-shaped proteins bind like a lock-and-key to the body’s foreign invaders like viruses, bacteria, fungi, or parasites. They can be gathered from the blood of recovered patients, or manufactured synthetically in a lab.
What About Monoclonal Antibody?
Also called ‘biologic’ or mAb/moAb, it is an antibody made by cloning a single, unique white blood cell. When it comes to Covid-19, it prevents the spike protein of SARS-CoV-2, from attaching to the body’s cells to infect them. They are used to treat serious diseases ranging from cancer, eczema, and arthritis.
Monoclonal v/s Plasma Treatment
Convalescent plasma is a mixture of different antibodies, that target multiple sites on the virus. Monoclonal antibodies have a high concentration of a single, specific antibody, which makes them more potent than the former. Though both provide help to achieve passive immunity.
Now What Is Passive Immunity?
It is a shortcut to creating an immune defense i.e a person acquiring antibodies from an external source, for a disease, rather than producing them through his or her own immune system (active immunity). Eg: An infant receives a mother’s antibodies through the placenta or breast milk.
What Do Experts Have To Say?
Dr. Peter Chin, a disease specialist at U.C.S.F. Health in San Francisco, said that Mr. Trump is experiencing the effects of the ‘steroid dexamethasone’, which is known to reduce fever and can create feelings of well-being and euphoria in patients.
Will It Be Effective On A Larger Scale?
Like any other drug, Regeneron cocktail must be proved in large clinical trials that compare the outcomes of people, who received the dose with those who received simply a placebo. Those trials are yet to complete.
FDA and Regeneron
Regeneron has now asked the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) for emergency authorization to make the drug available, as a part of Trump administration’s “Operation Warp Speed,” that promises to come up with viable treatments for COVID-19, in order to help distribute it immediately on availability.
On getting the approval, the drug company would initially start with doses for 50,000 people and hopes to distribute to 300,000 people by the end of the year, which is expected to be provided to Americans for free. The FDA has recently approved the first treatment—Inmazeb from Regeneron—to treat Zaire ebolavirus.
- A placebo is a treatment, in which patients perceive their condition and encourage the body’s chemical processes for relieving pain and a few other symptoms, but have no impact on the disease itself. The use of placebos in clinical medicine raises ethical concerns, especially if they are disguised as an active treatment, as this introduces dishonesty into the doctor–patient relationship and bypasses informed consent.
- The Curse of Tippecanoe is the supposed pattern of deaths in office of presidents of the United States elected in years that are evenly divisible by 20, from 1840 to 1960. The presidents fitting this description were William Henry Harrison, Abraham Lincoln, James A. Garfield, William McKinley, Warren G. Harding, Franklin D. Roosevelt and John F. Kennedy.
- Trump Tower is a 58-floor, 202m tall mixed-use skyscraper at Midtown Manhattan, New York City. Trump Tower serves as the headquarters for the Trump Organization.