Regeneron co-founder talks to News 12 about COVID-19 antibody cocktail touted by President Trump
As the coronavirus death toll continues to spike, there is attention this week on an antibody treatment that was developed in the labs of a bio-tech company based in Westchester.
The COVID-19 double-antibody cocktail from Regeneron that President Donald Trump hailed as a miracle cure last month is now on its way to hospitals after getting the green light for emergency use by the FDA.
Dr. George Yancopoulos is the man who co-founded the Tarrytown-based company that created the cutting-edge treatment. Yancopoulos sat down with News 12's Tara Rosenblum to explain the science behind it.
"This was a new wave of drugs that only became available over the last couple of decades. What we are doing is, we're copying what the body does to fight viruses," said Yancopoulos.
Yancopoulos says the drug, which combines two antibodies, is given through a one-time, hourslong IV treatment. It will only be offered to newly infected, high-risk patients 12 years and older, with mild to moderate COVID-19 symptoms.
The government has already purchased the first 300,000 doses, which will be free of cost minus the charges for the IV line. It will be up to each state to decide how to allocate the drug, leading to growing concerns that pent up demand will far outstrip supply, with holiday travel ramping up and cases hitting new heights nationwide.
There is another similar treatment heading to hospitals soon. The FDA approved a single-body drug developed by Eli Lilly earlier this month.
"The major difference is we put two antibodies together to create a cocktail so in case there is a mutant virus that escapes one of the antibodies, the other antibody will still hopefully bind it and kill it," said Yancopoulos.
Neither drug has full FDA approval. That could take months. But if you do not fit the criteria for emergency use of the antibody cocktail, Yancopoulos says you could still get access through clinical trials.