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Holy Name Medical Center Participating In Clinical Trials Of Regeneron, Antibody Treatment Given To President Trump

NEW JERSEY (CBSNewYork) - Pres. Donald Trump credits drug maker Regeneron's treatment for relieving his COVID-19 symptoms. But, what is it, and how might you get it?

CBS2's Meg Baker spoke with a New Jersey woman who was also treated with the therapeutic drug.

Nicole Martinez, from Bergenfield, lost her sense of taste and smell shortly after testing positive for COVID-19.

Martinez has multiple sclerosis and is considered "high risk."

"It was very alarming for me," she told Baker.

Martinez qualified for a Regeneron clinical trial at Holy Name Medical Center in Teaneck, N.J., where she received the experimental antibody drug intravenously.

She reported noticeable changes three days later.

"I could smell coffee grinds. I could get a sense of taste back, as well," Martinez said.

MORE: Max Minute: Companies Say Manufactured Antibodies May Treat Or Even Prevent Coronavirus Infections

Dr. Thomas Birch runs the trial - the first in the world for Regeneron.

"We've enrolled 29 patients here at this site, all with good effect. Although, it is a blinded study. So, we don't know which ones received medication and which received placebo," said Dr. Birch, medical director of clinical trials at Holy Name Medical Center.

The therapeutic was created by a Westchester biotech firm.

"It's a cocktail of two monoclonal antibodies that work together to really glom onto that virus, and effectively make it impossible for the virus to get in your cells," said Dr. Len Schleifer, co-founder and CEO of Regeneron.


Pres. Trump says he wants to make the drug free for everyone, using government dollars to cover the estimated $100,000 per patient.

"We have medicines right now, and I call them a cure. I went into the hospital a week ago, I was very sick. And I took this medicine and it was incredible," Trump said in a video released Thursday.

Dr. Jon LaPook, chief medical correspondent for CBS News, warns it's too early to call Regeneron a cure.

"There are symptoms, that's how somebody feels, and signs, that's actual data. He says he's feeling well, but remember that he's also on steroids, which can mask symptoms," Dr. LaPook said.

The treatment has not yet been approved. Regeneron is seeking emergency use authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

In the meantime, the treatment is available to patients on a limited, compassionate use basis since it is still going through clinical trials.

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