The New COVID 'Cure' is Untested, Says Doctor

Kenneth Perry, MD FACEP
·3-min read

The scientific method is a very important aspect to biomedical research. From hypothesis, testing, to conclusion, science must have ways to take an idea and test if that idea can help people. The medical system relies heavily on this type of research. Testing if drugs or therapies can help eradicate disease or improve a patient's life is an integral part of pushing science and medicine forward. This is often at odds with the world of business, or of public opinion as there is often a desire to come to conclusions quickly especially if there is major need that must be met.

This is playing out in the public realm right now regarding Regneron's experimental drug that was given to the President over the weekend. (Read on, and to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had Coronavirus.)

REGN-COV2, Regeneron's investigational double antibody cocktail for the treatment and prevention of COVID-19
REGN-COV2, Regeneron's investigational double antibody cocktail for the treatment and prevention of COVID-19

The Drug Is Still Experimental

The biotechnology company behind the drug has just applied to the US Food and Drug Administration for emergency authorization. "Under our agreement with the U.S. government for the initial doses of REGN-COV2, if an EUA is granted the government has committed to making these doses available to the American people at no cost and would be responsible for their distribution," a statement on their website said. "At this time, there are doses available for approximately 50,000 patients, and we expect to have doses available for 300,000 patients in total within the next few months.

The use of the drug on the President was experimental, and although no deleterious outcomes seem to have occurred, the benefit still needs to be tested. In theory, it is an obvious choice of antibodies to attack the virus. It blocks the virus's ability to enter the cells of the patient, which minimizes the patient's symptoms and should speed recovery. The concern is that theory does not always lead to a viable, safe drug. The ability for a drug to undergo randomized controlled trials where it is tested against a placebo is an important step in determining its success. There are countless variables that must be accounted for such as age, gender, medical problems, even when a medication is administered that can skew the outcomes of a drug either positively or negatively.

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The Jury Is Out

The fact that Regeneron's REGN-COV2 had a beneficial outcome for one patient, albeit a very important patient, does not mean the drug is a success. It also must be said that if it did not work on the President, it does not mean it is a failure. The scientific method does not make determinations of efficacy based on one patient, but on statistical calculations of a large group of patients.

Given the fact that the REGN-COV2 is still being tested, it could be said that it is unfair to the drug manufacturer and the physicians and patients enrolled in the studies across the country to put such emphasis on the drug at present. Efforts, such as giving the drug free of charge, could artificially push it through to market. This may force it to bypass the necessary pathways to ensure its safety, which could prove detrimental to the drug itself. If a small problem cannot be dealt with before large scale administration, a small problem that could be fixed may be interpreted as a complete failure. Even if REGN-COV2 is the answer to the COVID-19 crisis, only after exhaustive research will the healthcare community give its full fledged support.

As for yourself, try to avoid COVID in the first place, and to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don't miss these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.