Story at a glance
- Pharmaceutical companies have sold Operation Warp Speed hundreds of thousands of doses of their experimental coronavirus solutions following President Trump’s treatment.
- The two drugs are not vaccines, but show signs of helping stimulate an immune response to a COVID-19 infection.
The U.S. government has placed an order of one million doses of antibody treatments for COVID-19 infection that are akin to the cocktail administered to President Trump, Reuters reports.
Citing a senior U.S. health official, antibody treatment doses from the drug manufacturers Eli Lilly and Regeneron — whose products were given to Trump to help him fight his coronavirus infection — are being ordered and funded by the Trump administration’s Operation Warp Speed, which aims to develop a COVID-19 vaccine as soon as possible.
Health and Human Services official Paul Mango confirmed this during a phone call with the press.
Mango explained that the White House currently has “a couple of hundred thousand doses” of the treatment, and will grow that quantity to more than one million by the end of the year. Previously, Regeneron inked a $450 million deal in July to sell enough doses of its drug, REGN-COV2, to the federal government for the treatment of about 300,000 people.
Eli Lilly told reporters Friday that it has not signed any formal deals with Operation Warp Speed, but said it expects to produce about one million doses of its antibody drug by the end of 2020.
Since Trump disclosed the Regeneron treatment used to treat his COVID-19 infection, interest in the drug mixture has expanded, with their individual stocks rallying following Trump’s announcement, with him saying he “felt good immediately” after receiving a dose of the cocktail.
The positive feedback from the president, combined with optimistic data from a clinical trial, has led to both companies submitting their drugs for approval under the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) emergency use authorization.
Reuters explains that the drugs are different: Regeneron’s treatment is a mix of two antibodies aimed at protecting against the virus, while Eli Lilly’s drug is a singular antibody. They have not been tested against each other.
Regeneron’s drug mixture was administered to Trump under a compassionate use clause. Currently, neither drug has authorization to be used as a treatment for the coronavirus by the FDA.
Mango stated that if the two drugs are approved by the FDA, the government intends to distribute doses to states based on need in a manner comparable to remdesivir, the treatment manufactured by pharmaceutical company Gilead.