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Memphis News & Weather | Memphis, TN | WATN - localmemphis.com

COVID-19 treatment used on President Trump drawing national attention, part of upcoming local study

The REGN-COV2 antibody cocktail will be given by UT Health Science center, Regional One Health researchers in clinical trial.

MEMPHIS, Tennessee — President Donald Trump said it's a cure for COVID-19 and that same treatment will be used in Memphis in an upcoming clinical trial.

Regeneron's said it has 50,000 doses of its antibody cocktail ready to go and promised more if the U.S Food and Drug Administration approves an emergency use authorization.

The treatment on President Trump in recent days shined fresh light on UT Health Science Center and Regional One Health, as researchers begin a study on the same treatment with local COVID-19 infections.

"The fact that we are willing to use these therapies on the President of the United States, it really is a strong endorsement for the possibility of the therapy," Dr. John Jefferies with UTHSC said.

But while UTHSC doctors are optimistic, they're also cautious to avoid premature hope after President Trump declared himself cured of COVID-19 Wednesday after taking the drug.

"I don't think we've found a cure yet, we certainly don't know what the potential of this drug is yet because we don't have enough data," Dr. Amber Thacker with UTHSC said.

UTHSC researchers want to change that in their upcoming stage stage two and three trial of the drug.

Researchers are now confirming participants - those with COVID-19 or who live with someone with COVID-19 - who will be given one dose and monitored to see the drug's effectiveness in different age groups. 

"It's our belief as providers that this is a strong opportunity to make a big difference in the trajectory and maybe the prevention of the disease," Dr. Jefferies said.

The drug's biotech company - Regeneron - announced Wednesday it applied to the U.S. FDA for an emergency use authorization - and if granted - promised to provide the drug - at no cost - to as many as 300,000 people within a few months. 

No matter the FDA's decision, the drug's sudden national attention with President Trump as a recipient could be beneficial to the local clinical trial.

"I think it would have a positive impact on this study simply because there'd be more awareness, I think more people will be interested in pursuing this," Dr. Jefferies said.

A FDA spokesperson said Thursday they could not comment, deny or confirm Regeneron's emergency use application or when a decision could be made.

If you are interested in participating in the UTHSC/Regional One Health clinical trial - or interested if you are eligible - go to: www.ClinLife.com/COVID.