Trump's experimental treatment to cure COVID-19 contained embryonic kidney cells derived in the 1970s, which is a common research practice
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.
That 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.