Oct.05 -- President Donald Trump has been treated for Covid-19 with a mix of well known and experimental medicines while at Walter Reed Medical Center. He's been given remdesivir, an antiviral drug made by Gilead. He's also taken the low-cost, anti-inflammatory drug dexamethasone. Trump also received a dose of an experimental antibody cocktail made by Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc. Bloomberg's Drew Armstrong reports on "Bloomberg Surveillance."
- Let me start with just a general question, Drew Armstrong, which of these cocktail of drugs is the one that has your attention?
DREW ARMSTRONG: I think the one-- So the president has gotten three drugs, three main drugs, he's getting a number of others, as far as we know, but he got an early dose of the antibody therapy, which is basically a replacement for the body's immune system, early on. That's the experimental drug made by Regeneron. He has been getting a antiviral drug, which is kind of a direct attack on the virus itself, remdesivir, that's made by Gilead.
And then, most recently, we were told by the White House that he had gotten a steroid called dexamethasone That is the one that I think has caught my and a lot of other people's attention, because it is typically used in patients who are in the second phase of this disease. And it's not necessarily something that acts on the virus itself, but it's meant to combat an overactive immune system or overactive inflammation that can really hurt patients when they get more serious and need oxygen or ventilation.
- Do these three, Doctor, do any of them have a titer effect we can identify, where we can say the president is over one of these three concoctions by Tuesday, or by Thursday, or by never? I mean, do we have any idea of the life of these drugs in his body?
DREW ARMSTRONG: One of the things I just want to back up for a second here with, is that there's a tremendous amount of speculation, based on what the typical patient would get and what that means about the president's care. About the president's exact health status. And in the lack of really clear information from the White House medical staff about what he is doing, we really do not have a lot of information. People are having to speculate on how he's doing based on the drugs he's used.
But I think they're speculating based on the assumptions that he is a typical patient who's getting typical medical care. Not kind of more aggressive VIP medicine, which can be a bad thing, a neutral thing, or a good thing. This is a really, really strange environment where, I think, it's easy to assume that the normal things are happening, and they may not be, and we don't know if that's good or bad.
- You know, Drew, we don't want to go into the realm of speculation. And I'm glad you said that. We don't know where President Trump is heath wise frankly, This is a very tricky disease and it's unlikely that there's a clear view anywhere right now. Drew, based on the cocktail of drugs, though, that President Trump has been administered, and given how many therapies there are available, are we getting to the point where if somebody gets the virus and they are given the right therapies they can survive at a much higher degree than in the previous eight months, say.
DREW ARMSTRONG: Yes, absolutely. I mean we've now had more than six months of medical experience dealing with this virus. There are more drugs available. We know more about how they work. And not just how they work, but when they work. And that's really important to emphasize. We know when to use these drugs in the course of a disease to actually get a more, a better chance at a positive outcome. So, yeah, just fundamentally from a medical perspective, we're in a way better place than we were treating this virus in patients of all types than we were at the very start of it.
And I think it's also worth reminding people that yes, this can be a deadly disease in some people. It tends to be more deadly the older and the more underlying health conditions a patient is. But it is by no means a death sentence at all and I think sometimes this gets written about it in that way. Most people do tend to recover from this. That said, it's still potentially very scary. But the care has gotten better.
- Drew, this is a sensitive topic, and we all wish the president very well, and we hope that he recovers quickly and strongly. There is an issue that people have been raising about the inconsistency of information. And, as somebody who's been covering health care for a very long time, can you give us a sense of the damage, the public relations damage, that can be done if people are not trusting of health officials in what they give out in terms of information about the virus, guidance, or even the president's own health?
DREW ARMSTRONG: Yeah. I think we've seen, right now, a demonstration of all of that. If you look at some of the steps that the White House, around this Amy Coney Barrett event, didn't take. We talk about a bit of a mosaic of steps that you can take to protect against this virus. Social distancing. Masks. Using testing to find the cases after they happen and make sure that those people are not exposed to others.
The White House, in this case, has taken only a handful of those steps. They obviously were not practicing social distancing, as some of those photos of indoor gatherings show. And were not really very big on the use of masks among some of those people.
I think it's worth noting that if I had told you that we were going to invite, your 74-year-old grandfather was going to be having a birthday party, we were going to fly in people from all around the country who haven't been practicing social distancing or wearing masks, and we're going to have an indoor/outdoor gathering with 150 people, in a poorly ventilated space, you'd say, now? But yet that's exactly what the White House did here. I think a lot of public health experts have been saying you could not have designed a better case that looks exactly like some of these other super spreader events we've seen around the country to put people at risk from the virus.
- That will all be battled out here in the coming weeks, indeed, after the election, even after a given inauguration. Drew Armstrong, thank you so much.