President Trump to be hospitalized at Walter Reed following coronavirus diagnosis

President of the United States Donald Trump speaking with supporters at an "An Address to Young Americans" event hosted by Students for Trump and Turning Point Action at Dream City Church in Phoenix, Arizona on June 23, 2020. (Photo courtesy Gage Skidmore)
President of the United States Donald Trump speaking with supporters at an “An Address to Young Americans” event hosted by Students for Trump and Turning Point Action at Dream City Church in Phoenix, Arizona on June 23, 2020. (Photo courtesy Gage Skidmore)

President Trump on Friday is making an unannounced trip to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md, White House pool reporters awaiting his arrival said.

Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany said that “President Trump remains in good spirts, has mild symptoms, and has been working throughout the day. Out of an abundance of caution, and at the recommendation of his physician and medical experts, the President will be working from the presidential offices at Walter Reed for the next few days. President Trump appreciates the outpouring of support for both he and the First Lady.”

The White House also provided a brief update on Trump’s treatment Friday. Dr. Sean Conley, the president’s physician, says that President Trump received an experimental drug made by Regeneron, which contains two antibodies against the coronavirus.

The medicine is currently in clinical trials and isn’t approved by the Food and Drug and Administration. How the president’s medical team got the medicine wasn’t disclosed in the statement.

In response to NPR’s query, Regeneron declined to comment specifically, citing patient confidentiality. But Regeneron said it can make the drug available outside a clinical trial through a “compassionate use program,” subject to the OK of a review committee.

The drug, called REGN-COV2, is given as a single dose by injection (an infusion). The president received the high dose being tested by the company – 8 grams.

Because the drug contains two antibodies it’s sometimes called an antibody cocktail. It’s OK to describe it that way.

The company released preliminary results this week from a test of patients treated outside hospitals. The study found that in COVID-19 patients whose bodies hadn’t produced their own antibodies against the coronavirus, the medicine improved symptoms and lowered the amount of virus over time compared with a placebo.

The president is also taking some supplements – zinc, vitamin D and melatonin. He’s taking a heartburn drug – famotidine (brand name Pepcid) – and a daily aspirin.