Ask Dr. Nandi: President Trump is getting an 'unprecedented' mix of COVID-19 treatments. That puts him on the cutting edge of coronavirus care

Posted at 6:54 PM, Oct 05, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-05 18:54:30-04

President Trump has received an unprecedented mix of COVID-19 treatments in the hopes of warding off severe infection and shortening the length of time that he’s sick.

I’ve been following closely the treatments that President Trump has been given. And we know that he has received three.

The first was Regeneron’s experimental antibody cocktail to hopefully help his immune system fight the virus. This cocktail has shown in a small clinical trial that it can improve symptoms and reduce the amount of time that a patient is sick. But it has not yet received emergency use authorization from the FDA - unlike the next two treatments he was given.

On Friday, President Trump started a five-day course of Remdesivir. This drug has shown that it can block the virus and stop it from making copies of itself.

And on Saturday the third treatment administered was Dexamethasone. It’s a steroid and what it does, is it works on the immune system and lowers inflammation. And studies have shown that it can improve survival rates in severely ill patients by one third.

The National Institutes of Health recommends that Dexamethasone only be used for patients who need help breathing. Meaning that they either are being given supplemental oxygen or that they’re on a mechanical ventilator.

Now, we do know that President Trump was given oxygen when his oxygen saturation levels dropped. They dropped twice, at one point dipping below 94%. And if you hit 94 or lower, you are considered to have moderate to severe COVID-19.

Now, while it may seem odd that the President is getting a steroid that is typically used much later in a patient’s fight with COVID, in my opinion, his doctors are being proactive. They’re taking steps that they believe will keep the President on the right path to recovery.

We know that dexamethasone can inhibit the immune system, making a patient vulnerable to secondary infections. It can also cause confusion, mood changes, and sleep loss.

Steroids can also cause anxiety, headaches, aggression, depression, and weight gain. But I trust that the doctors taking care of him are weighing the pros and cons before administering any treatments. And so far, it does look like the President is having a mild case. Especially since this weekend, he posted a short video of himself on Twitter. And he also did a drive-by to wave at supporters outside the hospital.

Now, anyone who has COVID - please please please - stay isolated. The more movement there is, the more potential exposure you have to others, raising their risk of getting infected.

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