Doctors weigh in on which treatment helped President Trump fight COVID-19

Tuesday, October 6, 2020
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Many doctors are weighing in on which treatment may have helped President Trump rebound after testing positive for COVID-19.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Many doctors are weighing in on which treatment may have helped President Donald Trump rebound after testing positive for COVID-19.

"If you're asking my opinion, I think it made a difference," Dr. Anthony Fauci told CNN about the monoclonal antibody cocktail President Trump received. He says it's a very promising treatment that he saw work against Ebola in Africa.

Monoclonal antibodies are similar to those found in plasma of patients who've recovered from coronavirus, but they're made in a lab. The experimental therapy still has to be proven in clinical trials.

Dr. John Whyte, Chief Medical Officer at WebMD says some studies show the infusion helps reduce the amount of virus in the body, but it hasn't worked with some other diseases.

"HIV, chicken pox, a lot of other conditions when it really didn't play out in the long run," he said.

As for whether it helped the President, Dr. Whyte says "Could it have helped? Possibly and I hope it did, but we've got two to three other things going on as well."

President Trump also received Remdesivir and Dexamethasone, a powerful steroid. Dr. Whyte says all of these treatments come with risks.

The antibodies can start attacking normal cells weeks after the infusion. Steroids, although they make you feel powerful at first, can spark the opposite effect in patients as the dose is tapered down.

"They kind of bottom out in a way, where they felt really strong, now all of a sudden they're having a reaction where they are tired and fatigued and not having that same feeling of invincibility and strength," said Dr. Whyte.

As for the monoclonal antibodies treatment, right now, the only way to get it is through a clinical trial or if you're given permission through compassionate use, which is how President Trump received it.

But he's one of fewer than 10 people who have been granted access that way.