President Donald Trump issued a video message late Wednesday praising the experimental treatment he received for COVID-19, saying that he would like to make the treatment more widely available.
The president credited an experimental antibody cocktail treatment from Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc. for his recovery. Trump was able to obtain the treatment through a "compassionate use" exemption. The safety and effectiveness of the drug have not yet been established through clinical trials.
"I think this was a blessing from God that I caught it. This was a blessing in disguise," he said in the video message from the Rose Garden. "I caught it, I heard about this drug, I said 'let me take it,' it was my suggestion. And it was incredible the way it worked. I think if I didn't catch it we'd be looking at that like a number of other drugs. But it really did a fantastic job."
"I want to get for you what I got and I'm going to make it free, you're not going to pay for it. It wasn't your fault that this happened, it was China's fault. China's going to pay a big price for what they've done for this country. China's going to pay a big price for what they've done to the world," Trump said.
The 74-year-old president had checked in at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, on Oct. 2, before returning to the White House on Monday.
"I spent four days there, and, [when] I went in I wasn't feeling so hot, and within a very short period of time they gave me Regeneron, and other things too but I think this was the key," Trump said. "And it was like unbelievable, I felt good immediately."
Trump had been given an experimental drug on Oct. 2—a single 8-gram dose of Regeneron's polyclonal antibody cocktail. The polyclonal anti-viral antibody cocktail includes a collection of antibodies produced by B cells.
Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc. says it’s not possible for this type of blood test to distinguish between antibodies Trump’s body may be making and those supplied by the company’s drug, reported The Associated Press. Most likely, the ones detected in the Monday test are from the drug, the company said. There is no way to be certain whether the drug had any effect, because most people recover from COVID-19.
Trump told Americans in his video message, "So I just want to say, we have Regeneron, we have a very similar drug from Eli Lilly and they're coming out, and we're trying to get them on an emergency basis. We've authorized it. I've authorized it." He was referring to Eli Lilly & Co. therapeutics. The company on Wednesday requested the FDA to authorize its treatment for emergency use, and said it could supply one million doses.
"And if you're in the hospital and you're feeling really bad, I think we're going to work it so that you get them and you get them for free."
The president said there are "hundreds of thousands of doses that are just about ready," and the emergency use authorization is "all set," ready to be signed.
"I want everybody to be given the same treatment as your president, because I feel great," Trump said. "I feel like, perfect."