George Yancopoulos, president and chief scientist of Regeneron, said that the US president was the “ideal candidate” for the experimental cure, revealed that he was administered the highest dose possible and explained why to defeat the coronavirus, a vaccine will also be needed
George Yancopoulos , the co-founder, president and chief scientist of Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, said that the monoclonal antibody cocktail used to treat US President Donald Trump for the coronavirus “can reduce the level of viral load by 99%” and generate immunity against the Covid-19 that lasts “several months”.
“There are good reasons for hope and high expectations, ” Yancopoulos, a leading Greek-American scientist , told the Greek outlet Ekathimerini. “ Everyone at Regeneron is working tirelessly around the clock to combat this pandemic. We will not rest until we do it . ”
In the interview, Yancopoulos he also gave new details about the treatment of Donald Trump, to whom called”Ideal candidate” for the experimental cure.
The scientist explained that the cocktail of REGN-COV2 monoclonal antibodies proved to be “particularly effective” in patients who are in the early stages of Covid-19, have a high viral load , show mild to moderate symptoms and whose body has not yet produced antibodies, something that it is “absolutely essential.” On the other hand, he clarified that the treatment “is not recommended for people who are at high risk of side effects of the disease due to age or underlying health problems”.
Because Trump met all these conditions, Yancopoulos said that after “extensive discussions with his medical team we decided to move on because he was the ideal candidate.”
“The White House contacted us on October 1, just two days after announcing the results of the clinical trials,” he said. “We started the process and were able to obtain emergency authorization from the US Food and Drug Administration to administer the cocktail.”
Yancopoulos revealed that the president’s doctors opted to supply him with 8 grams of the antibody cocktail, that is, the highest possible dose.
“The usual dose administered to patients is 2.4 grams. It was his decision, perhaps too enthusiastic, aimed at giving the President the best possible result and a longer coverage period, perhaps, although these are things that we still do not have a complete picture of. “And he added:” The only thing What we know for sure is that the highest dose carries practically no risk for the patient ”.
The president himself, who after the treatment recovered in record time and will fully resume the electoral campaign with a large rally this Monday, assured this Sunday that he is immune to the coronavirus “perhaps for a long time, perhaps for a short time, perhaps once for life ”.
Regeneron’s boss confirmed thatif the cocktail “is given at the right time, it can reduce the viral load level by 99%. The protection it provides also lasts for several months ”.
Trump promised that the treatment will be free for Americans. In that sense, the scientist revealed that the production capacity at this time is “almost 100,000 doses per month ” and that from January they will work with the pharmaceutical company Roche and to “administer 250,000 doses per month or more.”
Further, Regeneron signed an agreement with the United States government to supply 300,000 doses by the end of 2020.”The cocktail is administered free of charge and I am confident that it will be distributed fairly and appropriately to the patients who need it most,” he said.
Finally, Yancopoulos explained why the antibody treatment alone will not be enough to defeat the coronavirus , but instead a vaccine will also be required.
“Antibodies are given to people who are already sick to treat them. The purpose of a vaccine is to protect people from getting infected and it can be administered to millions of people around the world, which is not possible with a cocktail of antibodies, ”he said. Therefore, “in a sense, a vaccine is more useful because it will help to build a powerful wall of immunity against the virus “.
However, he clarified, “There are always vulnerable or elderly people, and in those cases the effectiveness of a vaccine is lower”, so the efficacy of an antibody treatment in those cases “could be higher.”
“Unfortunately, we have many new cases every day and many patients die after presenting complications from the disease,” concluded Yancopoulos. “That is why the United States, like the rest of the world, needs treatments and a vaccine. And that’s why we can’t rest! ”.
A company with Greek roots
Yancopoulos , the son of Greeks who emigrated to the United States during the civil war in the Mediterranean country, also spoke about the Greek roots of Regeneron , whose president is the famous physician and researcher P. Roy Vagelos . Also Greek is Vice President for Viral and Infectious Diseases Research Christos Kyratsous.
“The Greeks leave their mark on everything and for sure we will do it again in the battle against Covid-19 ,” Yancopoulos said .