(WSJ) Scott Gottlieb and Mark McClellan–Antibody drugs like the one the president took may be a bridge to a vaccine

President Trump has been criticized for receiving experimental Covid-19 treatments that aren’t available to ordinary Americans. But man-made antibodies like those Mr. Trump received may soon be rolled out for broader public use. Such treatments may be a bridge to a vaccine.

Covid vaccines are being developed at a brisk pace, but their widespread use is on track for next year. Even if the Food and Drug Administration authorizes a vaccine this winter for those at high risk of Covid complications, the immunity benefit to the population will come gradually as access is expanded and more Americans are vaccinated.

One goal has been to have drugs like antibody treatments available this fall. Instead of using a vaccine to spur our bodies to produce antibodies, these drugs deliver synthetic versions that aim to neutralize the virus before complications develop. Mr. Trump probably benefited from the antibody cocktail he received, developed by Regeneron. These drugs could also rescue patients when vaccination doesn’t work or treat those who get sick after declining to be vaccinated. Regeneron and Eli Lilly have submitted data from clinical trials as a basis for emergency use authorization. Amgen and Vir Biotechnology also have such drugs in advanced development.

Eli Lilly’s submission was based on trial results reported earlier this week showing that its antibody treatment reduces hospitalizations and serious complications. The antibodies appear to be most helpful to those at highest risk. Earlier data showed that the antibodies bring down virus levels in infected patients with no obvious safety risks.

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