Housing Secretary Ben Carson is crediting President Trump with ‘clearing him’ for unapproved, experimental treatments that he says ‘saved his life’ after he became ‘desperately ill’ following his infection with the coronavirus.
There is no medical evidence that the monoclonal antibody treatments Carson cited worked, though Trump says it helped him overcome the coronavirus after he was diagnosed last month.
A retired neurosurgeon, Carson said Friday that he believes he’s now ‘out of the woods.’
He disclosed that his wife, Candy, also had COVID-19, the disease the coronavirus causes.
Carson tested positive earlier this month.
Most people recover from the disease, which has killed more than 250,000 Americans and sickened more than 12 million, including Trump and members of his family.
Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson (seen above on September 22 in Des Moines, Iowa) posted a message on Facebook in which he describes being ‘desperately ill’ from COVID-19
The Facebook post included a photo of Carson alongside President Trump, whom he credits for approving the use of ‘the monoclonal antibody therapy that he had previously received, which I am convinced saved my life’
‘I do believe I am out of the woods at this point,’ said the secretary, who gave credit to Trump, the White House medical team and doctors at the Walter Reed military hospital
In a statement posted on Facebook, Carson said he was ‘extremely sick’ but saw ‘dramatic improvement’ after taking a botanical treatment derived from the oleander plant.
There is no scientific or medical evidence that oleander is an effective treatment for COVID-19.
This past summer, Carson and Mike Lindell, a Minnesota-based businessman known for his MyPillow commercials, urged Trump to pressure the Food and Drug Administration to approve the plant as a COVID therapy.
Carson said he has underlying conditions, which he did not specify, ‘and after a brief period when I only experienced minor discomfort, the symptoms accelerated and I became desperately ill.’
Last month, President Trump touted monoclonal antibodies as a cure saying he felt better after taking them. ‘They call them therapeutic, but to me it wasn’t therapeutic… I call that a cure. It’s a cure,’ Trump said. The president was hospitalized for three days after he was diagnosed with COVID-19
Carson said Trump was aware of his condition and ‘cleared me for the monoclonal antibody therapy that he had previously received, which I am convinced saved my life.’
The White House declined comment Saturday, instead referring questions about possible intervention into Carson’s medical care by Trump to the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
HUD also declined to comment.
WHAT IS REGENERON’S ANTIBODY COCKTAIL?
Regeneron’s drug ‘cocktail,’ REGN-COV2, contains an antibody made by the company from mice and another isolated from a recovered COVID-19 patient, each of which may help to neutralize coronavirus.
The firm’s latest data from the ongoing trials, show the drug drove down the viral loads of patients who were not hospitalized and cut their recovery times by nearly half.
But it’s very much an experimental treatment, and the data announced earlier this week are the first published from the trial.
Two patients treated with the antibody cocktail had ‘adverse events’ – undesirable side effects. One of those was a ‘serious’ adverse event, but Regeneron did not reveal details of what happened to the patient, who received a low dose of the drug.
REGN-COV2 is comprised of a duo of therapeutics in a class of drugs known as monoclonal antibodies (hence REGN-COV2’s distinction as a ‘polyclonal antibody’), which are clones of antibody that attacks a specific antigen.
‘I do believe I am out of the woods at this point,’ said the secretary, who gave credit to Trump, the White House medical team and doctors at the Walter Reed military hospital.
Trump spent three days at Walter Reed after his infection in early October, where he received a variety of experimental treatments, including an antibody therapy from Regeneron.
Monoclonal antibodies treatments are also being developed by Eli Lilly and other companies.
The drugs mimic antibodies that the immune system naturally produces to fight off viruses and other pathogens.
Trump later credited the experimental drug therapy with aiding his recovery.
Carson said he took Oleander 4X, but there’s no evidence that the treatment or any other homeopathic medicine works against COVID-19.
Trump returned to the White House on Monday October 5 after spending three days hospitalized at Walter Reed Military Medical Center in Maryland for coronavirus.
The monoclonal antibody cocktail is considered experimental because clinical trials are ongoing and it hasn’t been approved for the market by the FDA.
Trump was able to receive it through the FDA’s ‘compassionate use’ provision, where unapproved drugs are administered to seriously ill patients who have no other treatment options.
While Regeneron has shared promising results of the treatment, which cut the viral load of COVID-19 patients who were not hospitalized, there is no evidence the drug cut the risk of death or ‘cured’ patients.
There also is no way for the president or his doctors to know that the drug had any effect.
Last month, Bill Gates said Trump was wrong to call monoclonal antibodies treatment a ‘cure’ for COVID-19, but says it’s the most promising therapeutic in research for now.
‘The word “cure” is inappropriate because it won’t work for everyone. But of all the therapeutics, this is the most promising,’ the Microsoft founder said on the October 11 broadcast of NBC’s Meet The Press.
Those monoclonal antibodies are being developed by Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, as well as Eli Lilly and other companies, and the drugs mimic antibodies that the immune system naturally produces to fight off viruses and other pathogens.
Bill Gates said last month that Trump was wrong to call monoclonal antibodies treatment a ‘cure’ for COVID-19, but added that it’s the most promising therapeutic in research for now
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has been active in research for a coronavirus cure.
‘We’ve been working with the companies doing antibodies. We reserved factory capacity all the way back in the spring and now we’re partnered with Eli Lilly, who with Regeneron, has been the fastest to get these antibodies ready,’ he explained.
‘They can reduce the death rate quite a bit,’ he added.
In his statement, Carson acknowledged having access to a level of medical care that is unavailable to most Americans.
He said a priority must be placed on getting comparable treatments and care to the general population as quickly as possible.