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The Latest On Trump's Health Following COVID-19 Diagnosis

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

We're going to continue our coverage now of President Trump's health status. As we've said, he's currently being treated for the coronavirus at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md. To hear more about his symptoms and how he is being treated, we're going to turn now to NPR health correspondent Allison Aubrey. Allison, welcome to you.

ALLISON AUBREY, BYLINE: Hi, there. Good to be here.

MARTIN: So the president's physician, Sean Conley, said the president is feeling well. What are the details? And what more did he say?

AUBREY: Sure. The president was diagnosed Thursday and was not feeling well. Though, his doctor said earlier today he is fever-free. They say he is not on oxygen, that he has no difficulty breathing. His heart, kidney and liver functions are normal, they say. Here's Dr. Sean Conley.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

SEAN CONLEY: At this time, the team and I are extremely happy with the progress the president has made. Thursday, he had a mild cough and some nasal congestion, fatigue, all of which are now resolving and improving.

AUBREY: But, of course, you know, he's only a few days into this, so the next several days are critical. And Dr. Conley says days seven to 10 of the illness will be critical, too.

MARTIN: I understand that the president has been given an experimental drug. It's being referred to as an antibody cocktail. What can you tell us about this medicine?

AUBREY: So the antibody cocktail is a medicine made by Regeneron. It contains two antibodies to help the body kind of fight off the virus. The president received an infusion on Friday, his doctors say. It's considered experimental because it hasn't been approved by the FDA. But this drug has shown promise. In fact, earlier this week, Michel, Regeneron released preliminary results from a study of patients. It turned out that people who had COVID-19 who were treated early and took the medicine - they had both improved symptoms and lowered amounts of virus. So this is compared to placebo. So some promising results there. I spoke to a number of experts today - researchers, scientists - who say given these preliminary results, the - this was a good call to do this treatment.

MARTIN: Do we know what other medicines the president is taking? And have his doctors elaborated on this?

AUBREY: Yes, as his doctor said today, he's being given an antiviral drug, remdesivir. This is now used with many COVID patients who are hospitalized and has been shown to be beneficial. He'll get a five-day course of this, his doctors say. They say he's also been taking zinc supplements that are shown to affect the immune system and vitamin D supplements as well.

MARTIN: Well, given all the medicines he's taking and the fact that he is sure to receive excellent care...

AUBREY: Right.

MARTIN: ...What can we say about his risk of developing more serious symptoms? Do we have a sense of what the likely course of the disease is for him?

AUBREY: You know, it is just really difficult to say on day two or day three what the course of his disease will be. I mean, he is considered a high-risk patient - right? - mostly because of his age. President Trump is 74. And a person his age is about five times more likely to be hospitalized due to serious illness. He's also male, and men tend to be hit harder by COVID compared to women. And he's overweight. So, clearly, doctors will be monitoring him very, very closely because all of this can change very quickly. This is clearly a very fluid situation.

MARTIN: That is NPR health correspondent Allison Aubrey. Allison, thanks so much for sharing your expertise here.

AUBREY: Thank you.

(SOUNDBITE OF SAIKO AND KURANES' "HANDS FREE") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Allison Aubrey is a correspondent for NPR News, where her stories can be heard on Morning Edition and All Things Considered. She's also a contributor to the PBS NewsHour and is one of the hosts of NPR's Life Kit.

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