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Why Trump’s COVID-19 antibody cocktail won’t be widely available

The antibody cocktail President Donald Trump credited for his swift coronavirus recovery won’t become widely available because it’s impossible to make enough for everyone who might need it, according to the Swiss pharmaceutical giant working on scaling up production.

“We’ll never be able to produce enough,” said Bill Anderson, drugs chief at Roche Holding, which is working with US biotech Regeneron Pharmaceuticals on the project. “This is clearly part of the answer for the world, not the answer. Hopefully we’ll have vaccines and other therapeutics.”

President Donald Trump at a campaign rally in Iowa on Wednesday. He's credited Regeneron for his swift recovery from COVID-19.

President Donald Trump at a campaign rally in Iowa on Wednesday. He’s credited Regeneron for his swift recovery from COVID-19.Credit:AP

The partners will probably be able to make as many as 2 million doses per year by the end of next March if the drug cocktail wins regulatory approval, Anderson said. That’s about the number of new COVID-19 cases identified worldwide in the past week.

The need for a multipronged approach to treat the virus has come into focus as potential safety issues emerge in late-stage trials of some promising vaccines and treatments. Eli Lilly this week paused a study of its own COVID-19 antibody to investigate such a concern.

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