These Are All the COVID Treatments Trump Has Tried
From vitamins to steroids, here's how doctor's are treating the president's COVID infection.
Since the news of President Donald Trump's COVID-19 diagnosis broke on Oct. 2, an expected media frenzy has continued to unfold, but much about the health of the president and the severity of his symptoms is still just speculation. However, we now know at least some of the methods doctors are taking to get the president on the road to recovery—and there are quite a few of them. Here's a little more on all the COVID treatments Trump has tried, according to the doctors who've administered them. And for more on the president's health status, check out Why Doctors Believe Trump's COVID Case Could Be Severe.
After the president's oxygen saturation levels dropped below 94 percent on Friday morning, White House physician Sean Conley, DO, recommended that Trump be given supplemental oxygen, The New York Times reported on Oct. 4. And while the president initially resisted, saying that he didn't need it, he ended up using the oxygen for about an hour, Conley said. And for the things that put our nation's president at a higher risk for certain symptoms, check out These 4 Factors Put Donald Trump at Risk of Severe COVID.
Regeneron's polyclonal antibody cocktail
In a statement released from the White House on Friday, Conley informed the press that in addition to the oxygen, Trump had been given an eight-milligram dose of Regeneron's polyclonal antibody cocktail as a "precautionary measure." The drug is still in clinical trials and isn't approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), though preliminary studies have yielded promising results that indicate its efficacy at lowering viral levels and reducing symptoms in patients infected with COVID-19. The same statement also noted that the president was administered zinc, vitamin D, the antihistamine famotidine, melatonin, and daily aspirin. And for other U.S. leaders who have gotten sick while serving, check out These U.S. Presidents Also Battled Serious Diseases While in Office.
In addition to the experimental antibodies, the president was given remdesivir, an antiviral drug that has yet to be approved by the FDA, but received emergency use authorization for treating COVID-19 in August. Studies on the drug's ability to effectively treat patients hospitalized with severe COVID-19 have shown promising results, according to the FDA, but some in the medical community were perplexed when they learned Trump had already started taking the drug.
"The thing that is odd is that in most trials people usually have symptoms eight, nine, or 10 days before they are enrolled in the trial," Walid Gellad, MD, director of the center for pharmaceutical policy and prescribing at the University of Pittsburgh, told Time about remdesivir. "From that standpoint, it's a little unprecedented that anyone so early [in their disease] would be receiving it."
On Oct. 3, following another dip in his oxygen saturation levels, the president was given dexamethasone, a steroid used to treat chronic diseases like lupus, arthritis, and cancer. There's evidence that the drug reduces the risk of death in severe COVID cases where the patient is on oxygen. A study conducted by scientists at the University of Oxford showed the drug reduced deaths of COVID-19 patients on oxygen by at least one-fifth.
Trump was given a second dose of remdesivir and did not exhibit any known side effects, his doctors said. According to Time, both the U.S. National Institutes of Health and the World Health Organization recommend the use of dexamethasone only for hospitalized COVID patients who require supplemental oxygen or are on a ventilator. And for more up-to-date information delivered straight to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.