Donald Trump's antibody treatment was developed with cells which are ultimately derived from an aborted fetus, it has emerged.
The Regeneron 'antibody cocktail' administered to the president was tested using a supply of HEK 293T human cells, which have been cloned and modified in science labs for decades but originate from the kidney of an aborted baby in the 1970s.
According to the MIT Technology Review, labs including Regeneron use the 293T cells to manufacture small particles which mimic the coronavirus.
The company did not deny the link to abortion, but said the modified cells available today are 'not considered fetal tissue'.
'It's how you want to parse it,' said spokeswoman Alexandra Bowie, adding that 'we did not otherwise use fetal tissue'.
Trump, who has sought to restrict abortion rights throughout his presidency, has hailed the success of Regeneron and promised to make it free to the public after his apparent recovery from Covid-19.
Donald Trump speaks outside the White House following his apparent recovery from Covid-19 which he has attributed to Regeneron's 'antibody cocktail'
Trump was given an experimental 'antibody cocktail' made by Regeneron as well as a host of other drugs to treat his coronavirus infection
Donald Trump was given the antibody treatment REGN-COV2 on compassionate grounds by its US manufacturer Regeneron.
The drug, which has not yet been approved for the treatment of Covid-19, is subject to clinical trials around the world.
The cocktail of drugs targets two components in the spike protein of the Covid-19 virus, with the aim of interrupting its ability to infect cells.
One of the antibodies in the 'cocktail' is based on an antibody that mice produce in response to coronavirus, while the other is based on an antibody isolated from the one of the first US COVID-19 patients.
The hope is that the treatment drives down viral load, keeping it from overrunning the body and sending the immune system haywire, and preventing the infection from becoming severe.
REGN-COV2 is still in early trial phases, but the first data from its clinical trial found that it lowered viral load within a week and cut recovery time in half in patients that weren't sick enough to be hospitalized. Regeneron has not yet studied the drug in severely ill patients.
Do I have any hope of getting this drug if I fall ill?
REGN-COV2 is currently being trialled globally, including in UK hospitals, where at least 2,000 patients will receive it.
The Recovery study, co-ordinated by the University of Oxford, will assess the impact of giving patients the drug alongside usual standard care, to see if it lessens the severity of Covid-19 and can reduce deaths.
Experts are hopeful the drug will work and can be pushed through regulatory channels quickly for widespread use.
In the US, Donald Trump has said he plans to seek emergency use authorisation from federal agencies for the medicine’s use.
What else did Donald Trump receive?
Thanks to the UK-led Recovery trial, which includes 176 UK hospital sites, a cheap steroid called dexamethasone was found in June to save the lives of people with severe Covid infection.
The widely available drug, which is now being used globally, was found to cut the risk of death by a third for patients on ventilators.
For those needing some form of oxygen treatment but not a ventilator, it cut deaths by a fifth.
The drug works like a regular steroid by calming the immune system, but can have side-effects such as irritability and difficulty sleeping.
Patients in UK hospitals now have access to dexamethasone if their doctors feel they would benefit from it.
Trump also received remdesivir, an antiviral drug that was first developed as a treatment for Ebola, and works by disrupting the virus’ ability to replicate.
Clinical trials have shown the drug cuts the duration of symptoms from 15 days to 11, but there is no data yet on survival.
The European Commission has sealed a deal with pharmaceutical company Gilead to buy 500,000 treatment courses of remdesivir, to ensure it can be stockpiled.
This means countries including the UK can continue to purchase the drug for widespread use.
HEK 293 is a 'human cell lineage' which ultimately derives from the kidney of a fetus which was aborted in the Netherlands around 1973.
One sub-group is 293T cells, which are widely