President Trump appears to have recovered from his COVID-19 diagnosis, and said after his recovery that this is the way everyone should be treated. Could this possibly happen using a combination of remdesivir, Regeneron, dexamethasone, and vitamin D?
“Donald Trump sort of falls into the trap that a lot of patients fall into,” Mercer Island MD Dr. Gordon Cohen told Seattle’s Morning News. “When somebody’s sick and they get better, they say, ‘Well, I got X, Y, and Z therapy and I got better. Therefore, that’s how everyone should be treated.’ But it doesn’t really work that way. And in fact, if we were to publish this, we would call it a case study. It’s just an end of one, meaning that it was one person who got treated this way and did well.”
The president has been touting the Regeneron “antiviral cocktail” that he received.
“Regeneron’s a good company,” Cohen said. “This is all scientifically based … and they’re in a clinical trial. And I think it’s likely that it’s going to prove to have some benefit.”
“However, on a compassionate-use basis, the president was able to request the drug. But as we talked about before, he sort of got the kitchen sink thrown at him,” Cohen added. “He got the Regeneron cocktail, he got dexamethasone, he got remdesivir … So when that happens, you take sort of a shotgun approach. It’s difficult to know if there was a single thing that actually made the difference, or is it the entire cocktail? And even then, we don’t really know what the severity of his illness was.”
What happens when a patient comes in having heard about the president’s treatment, and says, “I’ll have what he’s having?” How would a doctor respond to that?
“Well, the doctor has to be honest and say [Regeneron’s] not available, and because he’s the president and because he had the right staff to make a compassionate-use request, they were able to get it. And that’s not really the case for every one of us,” he said.
In general, Dr. Cohen worries about generating anxiety around vaccines, since there is already some resistance to vaccines to begin with. He believes proper clinical trials and their results should take precedent.
“But we have to be careful because we also have to make sure that we’re not scaring people away,” he added. “For example, during the vice presidential debate the other night, we heard Mike Pence comment that some of the people from the opposing party were making people have fear about a vaccine. Well, that’s also not good either. We have to look at it both ways. Already, people are skeptical about taking vaccines to begin with.”
“We may have a very, very effective vaccine that people are afraid of taking because they’ve heard press that scared them away from it,” Cohen added. “So we have to make sure that what we’re doing is medically correct, and we really can’t let the press and what people read in the news be what guides us. It has to be medically and scientifically sound. The really unfortunate thing about this disease becoming politicized is this really should be just about medicine and just about science. And I’m really disappointed that both political parties have turned this into a new election issue. It just shouldn’t be.”
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