The antibody cocktail taken by President Trump for curing COVID-19 was developed using human cells originally obtained from an elective abortion.
The drug is a monoclonal antibody cocktail developed by Regeneron. The president received an 8-gram infusion under a “compassionate use” exemption when he was hospitalized over the weekend after testing positive for Covid-19, reported The Guardian.
Since the fetal cells used in developing the antibody cocktail were derived before the current administration decided it would no longer fund such medical research, it wasn't in violation of any policy, a White House official told CBS News. But how the antibody was developed is still at odds with the Trump administration's position on research using fetal cells. 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.
The cell line was originally derived from the kidney tissue of a fetus aborted in the Netherlands in the 1970s, according to CBS News. There is no fetal tissue present in the final product.
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 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.