Can Trump really speed up approval of Covid treatments?

In a five-minute video posted to his Twitter account on Wednesday, President Trump stood in front of the White House and offered a lavish endorsement for a treatment he had received while hospitalized at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.

“They gave me Regeneron, and it was like, unbelievable — I felt good immediately,” he said, referring to an experimental cocktail of monoclonal antibodies produced by the pharmaceutical company Regeneron. “I want everybody to be given the same treatment as your president.”

The president’s video raised many questions, including whether the antibody cocktail could have such a significant effect in such a short time. (Some physicians were skeptical.)

But for the question of how he planned to ensure that a therapy not yet approved by the Food and Drug Administration would soon be available, he had an answer: “I have emergency-use authorization all set,” he said in the video. “And we’ve got to get it signed now.”

Vaccines, drugs and medical devices sold in the United States generally require F.D.A. approval. But for more than 15 years, the agency has had the authority, when certain conditions are met, to grant emergency-use authorizations, which allow the sale of unapproved medical products.

It has used such authorizations during several disease outbreaks, including H1N1 flu in 2009 and Zika in 2016, but the coronavirus has brought their deployment on a new scale.

Since February, the agency has granted more than 300 Covid-related emergency-use authorizations, and many observers expect that Covid vaccines will first be made available in the United States under a such a procedure.

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