By Tamsin Brown • 15 January 2022 • 10:36
The WHO, which frequently updates its list of recommendations based on the latest evidence from clinical trials, has recommended two new treatments for patients with COVID-19.
On January 14, the World Health Organisation (WHO) recommended two new treatments against COVID-19, to be used in very specific cases, bringing the total number of such recommended medicines to five.
In a report published in the medical journal The BMJ, experts from the WHO recommended a treatment based on synthetic antibodies, sotrovimab, and a type of medicine used against rheumatoid polyarthritis, baricitinib.
The medicines are not recommended for use in all patients. Sotrovimab is recommended for patients who have a high risk of hospitalisation. Its benefit for patients who are not at risk is too low.
Baricitinib is recommended for patients who are in a serious or critical condition and must be administered in combination with corticoids. In these patients, it “improves the survival rate and reduces the need to go on mechanical ventilation”.
Until now, the WHO had recommended three treatments for COVID-19: the synthetic antibodies sold under the name of Ronapreve, since September 2021; interleukin-5 antagonists (tocilizumab and sarilumab), since July 2021; and systemic corticosteroids for seriously ill patients, since September 2020.
According to the WHO experts, when both medicines are available, it will be necessary to select which one to use “based on the cost, the availability and the experience of the health professionals”.
The WHO regularly updates their list of recommended treatments for COVID-19, based on clinical trials carried out with different types of patients. Over the past few months, they have rejected various different treatments, including plasma injections from patients recovered from COVID-19, ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine.
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Originally from London, Tamsin is based in Malaga and is a local reporter for the Euro Weekly News covering Spanish and international news.
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