TRUMP’S COVID COCKTAIL TESTED WTH CELLS FROM FETAL KIDNEY TISSUE
After testing positive for the virus last week, President Trump called an experimental antibody cocktail that he had been given a “cure,” not knowing that it was developed with cells originally derived from fetal tissue, a practice his administration has moved to restrict, the New York Times reported.
In June 2019, the Trump administration suspended federal funding for most new scientific research involving fetal tissue derived from abortions. “Promoting the dignity of human life from conception to natural death is one of the very top priorities of President Trump’s administration,” the Department of Health and Human Services said in a statement in 2019, around the time of the ban. “Intramural research that requires new acquisition of fetal tissue from elective abortions will not be conducted,” the statement added.
Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the nation’s leading expert on infectious diseases, said that Mr. Trump might be right that the treatment he received has helped him in his fight with Covid-19 — but that his case alone doesn’t prove it. “I think it’s a reasonably good chance that the antibody that he received, the Regeneron antibody, made a significant difference in a positive way in his course,” Dr. Fauci, who is not involved in the president’s care, said on Thursday during an interview on MSNBC.
Mr. Trump last week received Regeneron’s cocktail of monoclonal antibodies — essentially, antibodies synthesized in living cells and administered to help the body fight off the infection. To develop the antibodies, Regeneron relied on 293T, a cell line derived from the kidney tissue of an aborted fetus in the 1970s. At least two companies racing to produce vaccines against the coronavirus, Moderna and AstraZeneca, also are using the cell line. Remdesivir, an antiviral drug Mr. Trump received, also was tested using these cells.