This past Sunday Health and Human Services Director Alex Azar was on "Meet the Press" telling Americans to "Hang in there with us. We're so close. We're weeks away from monoclonal antibodies for you."
The Regeneron monoclonal antibody cocktail is manufactured from two types of synthetic antibodies engineered in a lab from the cloned cells of mice and humans. The cocktail is still in the experimental stage and at this point it is difficult and expensive to make.
And even if there were hundreds of millions of doses of Regeneron's monoclonal antibody cocktail available, and even if everyone could get a dose for free, how do we know at this point if this drug would be safe and suitable for everyone?
"It's a cure," said Donald Trump of the monoclonal antibodies he received, and his Health and Human Services Director implied the same. But the Regeneron cocktail is not a cure for COVID. It's a treatment, and still an experimental one, at that. However, there is one thing that scientists have concluded about the treatment that Trump was given: being infused with those synthetic antibodies appears to have prevented his body from producing its own COVID-19 antibodies, the antibodies necessary for long term immunity from the recurrence of the coronavirus infection. And, unlike the natural antibodies produced by a person's own cells, synthetic antibodies introduced into the bloodstream will fade away in a few weeks. And so if after that period one is exposed a second time to the coronavirus, one will be left without the protection that one's own antibodies might have provided.
In Donald Trump's case, not only was his antibody production suppressed by the infusion of the monoclonal antibody cocktail, he was also given the steroid dexamethasone to fight inflammation of his lung tissue. However dexamethasone also suppresses the body's natural immune response, including its ability to make antibodies.
And so, between the monoclonal antibody cocktail and the dexamethasone, added to the fact that older people and men have weaker immune systems and subsequently less ability to generate antibodies, Donald Trump may have recovered from his case of COVID-19, but he is hardly, as he's been declaring at rallies, immune to it.
Unless maybe he continues to receive monthly doses of the monoclonal antibody cocktail to keep his body replete with synthetic antibodies.
But who even knows at this point what the side effects might be of the long-term use of this still experimental drug? Who can say for sure if it was even, in fact, the Regeneron cocktail that cured Trump? After all, along with that drug treatment he was also given the dexamethasone, Remdesivir, zinc, vitamin D and the generic version of Pepcid, the heartburn drug.
Right now we're all wishing for a silver bullet. Unfortunately we have President who's always been just as happy to dazzle us with fool's gold.