Here are the treatments President Trump is receiving - and how serious his condition could be

Monday, 5th October 2020, 4:59 pm
Updated Monday, 5th October 2020, 4:59 pm
The US President was seen outside the Walter Reed hospital on Sunday evening (Getty Images)
The US President was seen outside the Walter Reed hospital on Sunday evening (Getty Images)

In the early hours of October 2 President Donald Trump sent a tweet that – even by his own standards - shocked the world.

He wrote: "Tonight, @FLOTUS and I tested positive for COVID-19. We will begin our quarantine and recovery process immediately. We will get through this TOGETHER!”

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In the hours and days that have followed the media and public have, with difficulty, tried to ascertain a clear picture of the world leader’s health with White House physicians and aides releasing conflicting reports.

Over the weekend it surfaced that the president has been receiving a cocktail of treatments including Remdesivir and Dexamethasone which provide a fuller picture of the president’s health.

What are the conflicting reports on the president’s health?

On Friday evening Mr Trump’s medical team said that he was “doing very well” and “there is no cause for concern”.

Moments later a source identified as chief-of-staff Mark Meadows revealed to a pool of reporters that the president’s condition was far more serious.

He said: “The president’s vitals over the last 24 hours were very concerning and the next 48 hours will be critical in terms of his care. We’re still not on a clear path to a full recovery."

On Saturday, Meadows was more optimistic in his outlook, stating: “the president is doing very well. He is up and about and asking for documents to review. The doctors are very pleased with his vital signs. I have met with him on multiple occasions today on a variety of issues.”

Personal physician Dr Conley meanwhile was inconsistent in his reports on the president’s health, initially denying that the president had been provided with supplemental oxygen. A day later he reversed his claim, confirming that he president had in fact been provided with supplemental oxygen.

Dr Conley also caused confusion over the timeline of Mr Trump’s illness.

He said on Saturday morning (3 October) that it had been 72 hours since Mr Trump had received a positive test, suggesting that the world leader had been continuing his campaign while carrying the disease.

Conley has since attempted to clarify his statement saying that he meant to say “day three”.

What treatments has he received?

Donald Trump has received a number of treatments for Covid-19, including Remdesivir and Dexamethasone.

Remdesivir

Revealed as an effective treatment in June, Remdesivir is thought to improve the recovery time of coronavirus patients.

According to a report by The New England Journal of Medicine the drug, which interferes with the mechanism that causes a virus to duplicate, reduces recovery time from 15 days to 11 days on average.

Report sub-investigator Dr. Robert M. Grossberg said that the treatment could improve outcomes in patients with “moderate to severe” symptoms.

The report also suggested that the drug may be more effective when used early on in treatment perhaps explaining the early adoption of the treatment.

Dexamethasone

Dr. Brian Garibaldi, a member of Mr Trump’s medical team, also confirmed that the president was receiving Dexamethasone as a treatment.

On using the steroid Dr Sean Conley said: "We decided that in this case the potential benefits, early on in the course, probably outweighed the risks at this time.”

Doctors have suggested that the use of the drug suggested Mr Trump’s condition was worrying and serious.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) recommend the use of the drug to patients who need oxygen.

NIH said: “The Panel recommends against using dexamethasone for the treatment of Covid-19 in patients who do not require supplemental oxygen.”

Dr. Rochelle Walensky, chief of infectious diseases at Massachusetts General Hospital, said the revelation was “troubling”.

She said: "Generally you start the dexamethasone when you're starting to worry that they're heading down the wrong path… so, what happened today? Either he progressed or people are like, well, let's just throw the kitchen sink at him.

Regeneron's monoclonal antibody therapy

It was also revealed that Mr Trump has been receiving an 8-gram dose of the experimental antibody therapy treatment produced by Regeneron.

The use of the treatment raised some eyebrows as the treatment is still subject to clinical trials.

Early data suggests that the treatment improves symptoms and reduces viral levels.

According to studies the treatment works most effectively on patients whose bodies mount a natural response against the virus.

Supplemental oxygen

Dr Conley confirmed that the president had received supplemental oxygen on two occasions when "the President had a high fever and his oxygen saturation was transiently dipping below 94%.”

Dr Conley then revealed how long the President had received treatment, stating “after about a minute on only two litres, his saturation levels were back over 95%. He stayed on that for about an hour maybe, and was off and gone."

Supplemental oxygen is provided to those who have difficulty breathing.

According to the NIH, a low level of oxygen in the blood is a frequent symptom in Covid-19 patients.

When is he expected to recover?

The president’s medical team indicated that he could return to the White House as early as Monday.

According to WHO it takes approximately 2 weeks for patients with a mild case of coronavirus and 3-6 weeks for patients with a severe case.