Monday, January 24, 2022

WHO approves two new drugs for the treatment of COVID-19

The World Health Organization is recommending two new drugs for the treatment of COVID-19, adding to a growing list of therapeutics for the deadly disease.

Baricitinib is an oral drug recommended for patients with severe or critical COVID-19. It belongs to a class of drugs that suppress overstimulation of the immune system and is used in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis.

Janet Diaz, head of the WHO clinical care team, says the drug should be given along with corticosteroids, a type of anti-inflammatory treatment. She notes that three clinical trials involving 2,600 people have shown a reduction in mortality in patients with coronavirus infection after taking baricitinib.

She says the WHO has also conditionally recommended the use of a monoclonal antibody drug called sotrovimab for the treatment of mild-to-moderate COVID-19 patients.

“Provisional for those patients who have the highest risk of complications,” Diaz said. “These include elderly patients, unvaccinated or suffering from comorbidities. This recommendation is based on one trial, a well-conducted trial with just over 1,000 patients. And this trial showed a reduction in the need for hospitalization.”

Research continues on the efficacy of monoclonal antibodies against the omicron variant. While Diaz says early lab studies show sotrovimab continues to be effective against the new strain of coronavirus, she says she wouldn’t call the drug revolutionary.

“I think we have several therapeutic options for COVID-19 right now, and more are on the way,” she said. “Unfortunately, viruses are known to develop resistance to certain drugs. So SARS COVID-2 is no different in that regard… and if something happens when resistance does develop, we hope to reduce the likelihood of that.”

A WHO official says other therapeutics are under development.

She says WHO is committed to fair and affordable access for all Member States to medicines for COVID-19, and the agency and partners are meeting with pharmaceutical companies to negotiate fair prices and access for low- and middle-income countries to vital treatment methods. .


Nation World News Desk
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