WHO approves two new COVID-19 treatments
- The WHO approved two new treatments for COVID-19 on Friday
- These include baricitinib, a drug for arthritis, and Sotrovimab, a synthetic antibody treatment
- The recommendations are based on evidence from seven trials involving over 4000 patients
The two treatments are baricitinib, a drug for arthritis, and Sotrovimab, a synthetic antibody treatment.
Making their recommendation in British Medical Journal, an expert group from the WHO said, "..baricitinib, which is also used to treat rheumatoid arthritis, is strongly recommended for patients with severe or critical covid-19 in combination with corticosteroids."
The arthritis drug used with corticosteroids led to better survival rates and reduced need for ventilators, the health body said, according to a report by AFP.
The experts suggested that baricitinib and IL-6 receptor blockers like tocilizumab and sarilumab have similar effects and the decision should be based on issues including cost and clinician experience.
"WHO’s Guideline Development Group found moderate certainty evidence that baricitinib improved survival and reduced the need for ventilation, with no observed increase in adverse effects."
The second recommendation of an antibody treatment Sotrovimab was for those with non-serious COVID at high risk of hospitalisation, such as the vulnerable groups including the elderly or people with chronic diseases.
This conditional recommendation has not been given for those at lower risk of hospitalisation, as trials show fewer benefits among this group.
Earlier, the UK’s Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency approved sotrovimab for people aged over 12 with mild to moderate covid-19 who were at high risk of developing severe disease, after it was shown to reduce the risk of hospital admission and death by 79% in high-risk adults with symptomatic infection.
During the course of the pandemic, the WHO has approved and updated various treatments for the disease.
"They add to previous recommendations for the use of interleukin 6 receptor blockers and systemic corticosteroids in patients with severe or critical covid-19; conditional recommendations for the use of casirivimab-imdevimab, another monoclonal antibody treatment, in selected patients; and recommendations against the use of convalescent plasma, ivermectin, and hydroxychloroquine in patients with covid-19 regardless of disease severity," the expert group noted in the BMJ.