Shortly before President Trump left Walter Reed National Medical Center on Monday, he wrote on Twitter, “Feeling really good! … I feel better than I did 20 years ago!”
But Dr. Anthony Fauci said Trump could still go into “reversal.”
Fauci, an immunologist and director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases who serves on the White House Coronavirus Task Force, appeared Monday night on Chris Cuomo’s CNN show. He said that while Trump “looks fine,” he’s in the early stages of recovery from COVID-19, and his health could get worse.
“He looks fine as you can see the way he looked when he came out of the hospital,” Fauci said. “The issue is that he’s still early enough in the disease that it’s no secret that if you look at the clinical course of people sometimes, when you’re five to eight days in, you can have a reversal. A reversal meaning going in the wrong direction and getting into trouble.
But Fauci added: “It’s unlikely that it will happen, but there need to be heads up for it. He knows it, the physicians know it. So they’re going to keep an eye on it and they’re going to try and do that within the confines of the White House, as opposed to in a hospital.”
“You’re not out of it until you’ve gone several days out and doing well. But he certainly does look very well. But you don’t need me to tell you that. You saw how he came out of the helicopter and into there. He looked like he was in pretty good shape,” the 81-year-old doctor said.
The infectious disease expert also said he waiting to see the effects of the experimental antibody drug that was administered to Trump. “I think the monoclonal antibody made a difference and it is in clinical trial now to try to prove definitively if it works,” Fauci said.
Monoclonal antibody therapy “is a combination of antibodies, made by the company Regeneron, which mimic our own immune response,” the BBC reported. “The antibodies physically stick to the coronavirus so they can’t get inside the body’s cells and they make the virus more ‘visible’ to the rest of the immune system.”
“[T]he evidence in patients is still very limited and these monoclonals are still classed as an experimental drug — clinical trials are ongoing. The president is one of only a handful of people outside those trials to undergo the treatment under what is known as ‘compassionate use,'” the BBC said.
Trump also had four days of treatment with remdesivir, with a fifth treatment coming on Tuesday. The antiviral drug was first developed to treat Ebola and clinical trials have shown the drug cuts down the duration of symptoms. Like monoclonal antibodies, remdesivir is most likely to have greater effects if used early in the process.