United States President Donald Trump wrote Monday on Twitter: “I will be leaving the great Walter Reed Medical Center today at 6:30 P.M. Feeling really good! Don’t be afraid of Covid. Don't let it dominate your life." He added, “I feel better than I did 20 years ago!”
Dr. Sean Conley is the president’s personal doctor. He said "though he may not be entirely out of the woods yet, the team and I agree that all our evaluations... support the president’s safe return home.”
Conley added that privacy “rules and regulations” bar him from sharing information to protect Trump’s safety and health.
Trump announced last Friday that he and his wife Melania had tested positive for COVID-19. He has since received several aggressive treatments for the coronavirus during a three-day stay at Walter Reed medical center.
Dr. Conley first said on Friday that the president “was doing well with only mild symptoms.”
Conley later said Trump got "high fever,” or high body temperature, and was given oxygen. He said the president’s blood oxygen level was below 94 percent.
The National Institutes of Health’s COVID-19 treatment guidelines consider those with blood oxygen level at 94 percent or lower as having moderate to severe illness. The health agency notes that a low level of blood oxygen is common among COVID-19 patients.
Regeneron’s antibody treatment
As the president was transported Friday to Walter Reed Medical Center, Conley released a letter saying that the president received an 8-gram dose of experimental antibody treatment from the company Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc. The president also took substances such as: “zinc, vitamin D, famotidine, melatonin and a daily aspirin.”
Regeneron’s antibody treatment, called REGN-COV2, started its human trial in late June. It combines a “genetically-modified” antibody made by the company and a second antibody from recovered COVID-19 patients.
The treatment is designed to connect the antibodies to the virus that causes COVID-19 and limit its ability to spread in an infected person. This idea has been used in the past to develop drugs to treat other viruses such as HIV, the cause of the disease AIDS.
On September 29, the New York-based company told investors that the treatment appeared to be safe. The company said in a statement that the treatment also reduced viral levels and improved symptoms in non-hospitalized COVID-19 patients.
The treatment, however, has not been studied by independent scientists. And it has not been approved for emergency use authorization (EUA) by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
During a news conference Saturday, the president’s doctors confirmed that he has started a five-day treatment of the anti-viral drug remdesivir on Friday.
The FDA first approved remdesivir for the treatment of hospitalized patients “with severe COVID-19” in May. The agency expanded the emergency use authorization in August to anyone with COVID-19, regardless of the severity of their disease.
The drug appeared to help patients with moderate COVID-19 to recover faster after a five-day treatment when compared to others with usual care. The result was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in August.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) says the drug “works by stopping the virus from spreading in the body.” The health agencies warned of possible side effects including damage to liver, low blood pressure and vomiting.
On Sunday, Dr. Conley reported that Trump’s blood oxygen level on Saturday “dropped down to about 93 percent.” He added, "We watched it and it returned back up."
The president’s doctor also said Trump was given another drug, dexamethasone.
Last June, researchers at the University of Oxford found that dexamethasone cut death rates by around a third among patients with the most severe cases of COVID-19. The drug has been in use since the 1960s to reduce swelling caused by diseases such as arthritis. The researchers said the findings suggest doctors should use the drug immediately as usual treatment for severely sick patients.
The World Health Organization’s Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said at the time, “This is the first treatment to be shown to reduce mortality in patients with COVID-19 requiring oxygen or ventilator support.”
The NIH advises that the drug be used only for hospitalized COVID-19 patients who require oxygen or ventilator support. The guidelines suggest 6 mg a day for up to 10 days or until leaving the hospital.
The agency says the drug has no benefit for patients who do not need oxygen help. And it could limit the body’s ability to fight against infection.
The coronavirus, first discovered in Wuhan, China, has now infected more than 35 million people around the world. Johns Hopkins University’s Coronavirus Center reported that the disease has also killed more than 1 million people, including about 210,000 in the U.S.
I’m Jonathan Evans.
Hai Do wrote this story for Learning English. Mario Ritter was the editor.
Words in This Story
dominate - v. to have control of or power over
out of the woods - phrase, out of danger or difficulties
symptom –n. a change in the body that shows the presence of disease
modified –adj. to have changed some parts of something while not changing all the others
authorization –n. giving legal or officials approval to or for something
mortality –n. the number of deaths that take place in a certain time or place
ventilator –n. (medical) a device, used in a hospital, that helps someone breathe
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