WASHINGTON — The U.S. government on Tuesday will start distributing 30,000 doses of an experimental antibody drug to fight COVID-19, the one President Donald Trump received last month.
Over the weekend, the Food and Drug Administration agreed to allow emergency use of the drug, made by Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc., for people with mild to moderate symptoms who are at high risk of developing serious illness because of their age or other medical conditions. It’s not authorized for use in sicker, hospitalized patients or those who need extra oxygen.
Antibodies bind to the virus and help the immune system eliminate it. The Regeneron drug is a combo of two antibodies that seemed to do this well in lab tests.
The emergency authorization allows limited use of a drug while studies continue to test its safety and effectiveness. Early results suggest it may reduce COVID-19-related hospitalization or emergency room visits.
The drugs are given as a one-time treatment through an IV. Under federal contracts, the drugs for now will be supplied for free, although patients may have to pay part of the cost of the IV treatment.