Britain’s National Health Service (NHS) will reportedly begin offering coronavirus patients the same antibody treatment that President Donald Trump received when he contracted the Chinese virus last year.
A cocktail of antibody drugs developed by the American biotechnology company Regeneron Pharmaceuticals is set to be offered to those who test positive for COVID-19 in the UK in the hopes of preventing the healthcare system from being overrun by hospitalisations.
The coronavirus treatment was given fast-tracked approval in the United States following claims from then-President Trump claimed that the therapy represented a “cure” to the Wuhan virus.
The Chief Executive Officer of the NHS, Sir Simon Stevens has instructed the UK’s health service to begin preparations to deliver the Regeneron treatment, according to Britain’s Daily Telegraph.
“We expect that we will begin to see further therapies that will actually treat coronavirus and prevent severe illness and death,” Sir Simon told an NHS Confederation virtual conference on Tuesday.
“Today I’m asking the health service to gear up for what are likely to be a new category of such treatments – so-called neutralising monoclonal antibodies – which are potentially going to become available to us within the next several months.”
The antibodies are administered through infusion, so local health authorities are being tasked with developing systems to provide patients with the drugs in either local clinics or at home in order to prevent unnecessary hospitalisations.
“In order to be able to administer them, we’re going to need community services that are able to deliver through regional networks this type of infusion in patients before they are hospitalised – typically within a three-day window from the date of infection,” Sir Simon said.
Former President Donald Trump received the Regeneron treatment — which was not at that point approved by the FDA — after he made a special request through his doctors when he contracted the coronavirus in the final weeks of the presidential campaign.
Remarking in October about his experience with the antibody therapy, Trump said: “I went in, I wasn’t feeling so hot, and within a very short period of time then they gave me Regeneron … I think this was the key … It was like unbelievable, I felt good immediately.”
“To me, it wasn’t therapeutic, it just made me better,” he continued. “I call that a cure.”
“That’s what I want for everybody, I want everybody to be given the same treatment as your president because I feel great,” Trump added.
The pharmaceutical company has claimed that its drugs have the ability to cut symptomatic infections for those sharing accommodation with a positive patient by 100 per cent. Regeneron also claims that overall their product cuts infection rates by 50 per cent.
Scientists at Oxford have been trialling the treatment, with positive results expected to be announced in the coming weeks and a green light from Britain’s health regulators expected this summer.
Follow Kurt Zindulka on Twitter here @KurtZindulka