It is a combination of two human-made proteins and was developed using a decades-old cell line derived from embryonic kidney tissues.
The fetal cells used in developing the antibody cocktail were derived before the Trump administration decided it would no longer fund such medical research, it wasn't in violation of any policy. Trump touted the treatment as a cure for the deadly virus, which is an experimental therapeutic for coronavirus that is still undergoing testing and is not FDA approved.
Regeneron said it does not consider the treatment to have relied on fetal tissue since the cells were acquired so long ago. They are considered 'immortalized' cells (not stem cells) and are a common and widespread tool in research labs; a Regeneron spokesperson told ABC in a statement. The cell line wasn't used in any other way, and fetal tissue was not used in this research.
The company has now applied for an Emergency Use Authorization with the Food and Drug Administration, which would allow patients access to the drug more quickly than the standard approval process. The Phase 3 clinical trial is still underway. Still, the company says early results show the treatment reduces viral load and helps improve symptoms in non-hospitalized COVID-19 patients.
The "antibody cocktail" given to Trump is a combination of two human-made proteins and was developed using a decades-old cell line derived from embryonic kidney tissues obtained from an aborted human fetus in 1973. However, no human embryonic stem cells or recently harvested fetal tissues were used in the development of REGN-COV2, according to the manufacturer.
The COVID-19 pandemic has given rise to a lot of potentially dangerous misinformation. For reliable advice on COVID-19 including symptoms, prevention and available treatment, please refer to the World Health Organisation or your national healthcare authority.