The apparent recovery of Donald Trump since his Covid-19 diagnosis has focused attention on an experimental treatment he received. The US president was given three drugs, but leading US respiratory disease expert Anthony Fauci has said he is “strongly suspicious” that the 74-year-old’s recovery is attributable to an experimental cocktail called Regn-Cov2 that uses cloned antibodies taken from the blood of recovered Covid-19 patients to neutralise the virus. These drugs, known as monoclonal antibodies, have been used to treat illnesses such as breast cancer and rheumatoid arthritis and are generally seen by scientists as safe and effective because they are made from natural human antibodies that target a specific disease. But there are also uncertainties around the treatment. On Tuesday, American pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly announced it had paused its large-scale clinical trial of monoclonal antibody treatment ACTIV-3 over safety concerns. The pause has cast a shadow over the prospect of the treatment’s use against Covid-19, although pauses are not uncommon in large clinical trials. Currently 70 such products are being developed to treat Covid-19, several of which are undergoing clinical trials. Trump was given a cocktail made from two antibodies by the US pharmaceutical company Regeneron, which is seeking emergency use permission from the Food and Drug Administration. Even if monoclonal antibodies treatment turns out to be safe, Trump’s promise to provide Americans free access to it is a lofty one. Monoclonal antibodies are difficult and costly to make and they are the most expensive drugs in the world. Donald Trump is accidentally right in saying the US shouldn’t fear Covid-19 The median price for monoclonal antibody treatments in the US ranges from US$15,000 to US$200,000 a year and most developing countries would not be able to afford them. But the attention they have received as a result of the US president’s illness is an opportunity to heighten awareness of drug development. Since the start of the pandemic, most attention has been given to vaccine research, thanks to the strong advocacy by organisations such as the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations. According to the health care charity Wellcome Trust, US$2 billion has been spent on vaccine research, six times the US$300 million spent on research into treatments for Covid-19. Donald Trump proposed ‘ripping open’ his shirt to reveal a Superman logo after leaving hospital Vaccine research is important, but there are many uncertainties and the same level of support should be given to research in other areas to find the right therapeutics. We should not put all our eggs in one basket. Vaccines, cures and fast, accurate tests are equally important if we want to win the battle against Covid-19.