WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — President Donald Trump was given remdesivir Friday night at Walter Reed Medical Center following treatment with an experimental drug at the White House earlier in the day.
Remdesivir is the only treatment that’s been shown in a rigorous experiment to help fight the coronavirus. Earlier this year, a large study led by the National Institutes of Health found it could shorten average recovery time from 15 days to 11 days in hospitalized patients with severe disease.
In May, the Food and Drug Administration cleared Gilead Science’s drug for patients with extreme symptoms like breathing problems requiring supplemental oxygen or ventilators.
The drug is given through an IV and is designed to interfere with an enzyme the virus uses to copy its genetic material.
The European Medicines Agency announced this week it started a safety review on the drug after some patients reported serious kidney problems.
In a statement on Friday, the EU regulator said it isn’t clear whether remdesivir was causing the “acute kidney injury,” but that the issue “warrants further investigation.”
The drug’s known side effects include potential inflammation of the liver and problems related to its infusion, which could lead to nausea, vomiting, sweating and low blood pressure.
Earlier on Friday, Trump’s physician, Dr. Sean Conley, said the president received a dose of an experimental antibody combination by Regeneron that is in clinical trials.
He also was taking zinc, vitamin D, an antacid called famotidine, melatonin and aspirin. None of those have been proven to be effective against COVID-19.
Trump apparently is not receiving hydroxychloroquine, a drug he widely promoted that has been shown in many studies to be ineffective for preventing or treating COVID-19.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.