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Trump’s Regeneron COVID-19 treatment tested using aborted fetal tissue cells


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The experimental treatment for the coronavirus that President Trump took last week and which he has been touting as a miracle “cure” was developed using cells originally derived from fetal tissue, according to new reports.

The president was administered Regeneron’s cocktail of monoclonal antibodies — essentially man-made proteins that act like those naturally produced by the human immune system to fight viruses.

In order to test the potency of its antibodies, Regeneron made use of HEK 293T, a human cell line once derived from the tissue of an aborted fetus, according to the MIT Technology Review and The New York Times.

“293Ts were used in testing the antibodies’ ability to neutralize the virus,” Alexandra Bowie, a spokeswoman for Regeneron, confirmed to the Times. “They weren’t used in any other way, and fetal tissue was not used in the research.”

The Trump administration has previously condemned the practice, and, in June 2019 suspended federal funding for most new scientific research involving fetal tissue derived from abortions.

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But in a video released on Wednesday, Trump touted the cutting-edge treatment as a “cure” for COVID-19 and promised to provide it free to anyone who needed it.

Regeneron Pharmaceuticals
A scientist working in a lab at Regeneron Pharmaceuticals.Regeneron via AP

Regeneron applied for emergency use authorization of the antibody cocktail to the Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday night.

The anti-viral drug remdesivir, which the president also received, was tested using the HEK 293T cells as well, according to the Times.

At least two companies racing to produce a coronavirus vaccine, Moderna and AstraZeneca, are also are using the cell line.

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