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WHO approves two new Covid-19 treatments

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WHO approves two new Covid-19 treatments

The World Health Organization on Friday approved two new treatments for covid-19, increasing the arsenal of tools alongside vaccines to prevent serious illness and death from the virus.

The news comes as Omicron cases fill hospitals around the world and the WHO predicts that half of Europe will be infected by March.

In their recommendation in the British medical Journal the BMJ, WHO experts said the arthritis drug baricitinib used with corticosteroids to treat severe or critically ill Covid patients led to better survival rates and reduced the need for ventilators.

The experts also recommended treatment with synthetic antibodies Sotrovimab for people with non-severe Covid who are at higher risk of hospitalization, such as the elderly, people with immunodeficiencies or chronic diseases such as diabetes.

Sotrovimab’s benefits for people not at risk of hospitalization were considered negligible, and the WHO said its efficacy against newer variants such as Omicron “was still uncertain.”

Only three other treatments for Covid-19 have received WHO approval, starting with corticosteroids for seriously ill patients in September 2020.

Corticosteroids are inexpensive and widely available and fight the inflammation that commonly accompanies severe cases.

The arthritis drugs tocilizumab and sarilumab, which the WHO approved in July, are IL-6 inhibitors that suppress a dangerous immune system overreaction to the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

Baricitinib is in a different class of drugs known as Janus kinase inhibitors, but it follows the same guidelines as IL-6 inhibitors.

“When both are available, choose one based on issues including cost and physician experience,” the guidelines say.

The synthetic antibody treatment Regeneron was approved by the WHO in September and the guidelines say that Sotrovimab can be used for the same type of patients.

WHO Covid treatment recommendations are regularly updated based on new clinical trial data.

Source Credit: TheGuardian

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