Norton’s executive physician explains how President Trump’s COVID-19 drugs work

Norton’s executive physician explains how President Trump’s COVID-19 drugs work

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Since President Donald Trump was diagnosed with COVID-19, he’s been taking a collection of drugs to help him fight the virus.

Over the weekend, the country learned Trump had been injected with both Gilead’s Remdesivir and Regeneron’s REGN-COV2 antibody “cocktail.”

Official portrait of President Donald J. Trump, Friday, October 6, 2017. (Official White House photo by Shealah Craighead)
Official portrait of President Donald J. Trump, Friday, October 6, 2017. (Official White House photo by Shealah Craighead) (Source: White House)

After learning the names of the drugs, WAVE 3 News talked to Dr. Joseph Flynn, the chief administrative officer of Norton Medical Group.

“To see where we are then, not that long ago, to where we are now, is really remarkable," Flynn said.

Flynn explained to WAVE 3 News how the drugs work when they’re administered. He said to understand that, people also need to understand how the coronavirus infects the body.

Dr. Joseph Flynn said coronavirus-specific antibodies are made outside of the body and then injected into the body, speeding up the body’s response to COVID-19. He said the drugs act as a multi-pronged approach to defeating the virus.
Dr. Joseph Flynn said coronavirus-specific antibodies are made outside of the body and then injected into the body, speeding up the body’s response to COVID-19. He said the drugs act as a multi-pronged approach to defeating the virus. (Source: Hawaii News Now)

“When the virus gets taken it, it binds to what they call our ACE-2 receptor, which is the receptor in a lot of our different organs," Flynn said. "It’s in our lungs. It’s in the nasal cavity. It’s in our GI [gastrointestinal] tract, etc. And that gets taken into the cells and it divides and grows.”

He said Remdesivir is a “polymerase inhibitor,” meaning it halts the virus’ ability to reproduce within the healthy cells.

Flynn said Regeneron’s antibody treatment is different but works in combination with Remdesivir. Flynn said coronavirus-specific antibodies are made outside of the body and then injected into the body, speeding up the body’s response to COVID-19. He said the drugs act as a multi-pronged approach to defeating the virus.

“It’s what you would probably develop if you were giving a vaccine, for instance," Flynn said. "So you’re given these antibodies upfront, and that’s designed to attack the virus that’s circulating as well. Looking at, how do you not only attack the virus itself, how do you prevent it from growing, and how do you prevent the organ injury, which is a lot the things that we’ve been doing in combination with other treatments.”

Though Trump has been taking the medications since the weekend, they are still considered experimental.

The president was released from the hospital Monday evening.

(Story continues below video)

Flynn said if the drugs did prove to aid Trump’s condition, it could have a positive effect on the country’s response to the virus.

“This is based off of seven-eight months of clinical trials, a lot of science, a better understanding of the virus and how it impacts people and getting a better understanding of really how the body reacts to being infected,” Flynn said.

Copyright 2020 WAVE 3 News. All rights reserved.


Get the WAVE 3 News app on ROKU, Apple TV and Amazon Fire.
Get the WAVE 3 News app on ROKU, Apple TV and Amazon Fire. (Source: WAVE 3 News)