Brandon Bartlett: Doctor Schultz, thanks for joining us tonight. As you know, President Trump is back in the White House tonight after leaving Walter Reed Medical Center on Monday. He’s continuing to recover at the White House under his doctor’s supervision.
Let’s talk about his treatment plan. The White House says that he received an aggressive treatment of experimental and standard drugs, they include a cocktail of antibodies, plus the drug Remdesivir, as well as a steroid. Walk us through what those drugs do and why a COVID patient might benefit from those.
Dr. David Schultz: Well, this is very interesting. So here is a monoclonal antibody, and what the antibody does is it binds to the protein and the code of the virus and that keeps that virus from going into other cells in the body where it can reproduce and multiply.
By doing so, it decreases the amount of viral particles in the bloodstream and in the system and that hopefully, is going to decrease its ability to cause some of the more serious effects of the virus. The other medications that he was on would have been dexamethasone and dexamethasone, at six milligrams a day has been shown to be very effective at reducing some of the respiratory and organ effects that the virus can cause with damage and so forth.
And then the Remdesivir is antiviral therapy. Now interesting enough, we do all of those therapies in Evansville, Indiana, as well. So the same thing that the President received is something we can receive here in Evansville, in Owensboro, in the Tri-State.
Brandon Bartlett: That is something that the general population has access to?
Dr. Schultz: Absolutely. So what President Trump went through, anyone in Evansville, Indiana, when they’re serious, can get on the same medication regimen. Now, all that said, the one little difference is with the monoclonal antibody and the antiviral Remdesivir. Because of lack of having an abundant supply, we’ve been reserving that medication in the Tri-State to those who are in the intensive care unit, or who are hospitalized in the hospital. So we have enough to treat the more seriously ill. But other than that, the same treatment protocols they’re doing there, ee’re doing here in Evansville, Indiana.
Brandon Bartlett: That’s good to know. Well, in addition to those drugs, the White House physician says that the President is also on a daily aspirin, melatonin, zinc, vitamin D, which you talked about a lot, and Pepcid. Why those and is it common for a COVID patient to be on those?
Dr. Schultz: Well, that’s an interesting question. So when you look at what he’s on, for example, Pepcid, we found anecdotally that Pepcid actually helps improve your sense of taste and your sense of smell and it’s not FDA approved for that, but we have found that that does help individuals. And then aspirin is because the COVID virus tends to cause increased ability of clotting to occur in the bloodstream. And so there are many people developing pulmonary embolisms, also deep venous thrombosis, and so forth. And so that helps reduce clotting in the bloodstream. And then the vitamin D is very obvious because it improves the immune system’s response to fight off the virus.
Brandon Bartlett: And before being taken to Walter Reed Medical Center, the President was given oxygen at the White House because his levels dipped below 95 percent, do a lot of COVID patients require oxygen.
Dr. Schultz: They really are. What’s happening, especially in your older population above age 60, is we’re seeing that oxygen levels are decreasing. And that symptom at home would be feeling short of breath when you walk, feeling lightheaded, dizzy headed with this, those symptoms are indicative of low oxygen levels. And so by adding oxygen, it improves oxygenation of the brain, and makes you feel better, but it also keeps the lungs from building up extra mucus and so forth, trying to keep the oxygen up.
Brandon Bartlett:The President’s doctors say that even though he’s back in the white house tonight, and now just tonight back into the Oval Office, they say he’s not out of the woods just yet. Why is that?
Dr. Schultz: Interestingly enough with this virus, we’re finding that there’s a high level of relapse with it and we’re having individuals that have Had the initial viral infection, and maybe five to seven days later, develop respiratory distress. And I’ve had at least seven patients from our practice that we’ve had to hospitalize a week after having the initial virus because of respiratory failure or respiratory distress. And we do not understand why some people are getting that and why others are not, and so forth.
In fact, even some very healthy individuals are having that problem. And so our conclusion right now at this point is there has to be a genetic risk, that there’s a certain genetic component in our bloodstream that is predisposing some to develop that secondary around with the virus and it’s not a new virus, it’s not a reflaring of the virus, but rather is an activation of the immune system to behave in a way we otherwise would not want it to behave.
Brandon Bartlett: Interesting, but there is still a lot of unknowns with this. Dr. David Schultz with Evansville Primary Care, thanks so much for joining us tonight.