Jan 15, 2022 - Health

WHO recommends 2 new COVID treatments

Photo of a patient wearing a ventilator, lying in a hospital bed and holding a blue device in their right hand
A patient in the red zone of a COVID-19 ward at an emergency clinical hospital in Volgograd, Russia. Photo: Dmitry Rogulin/TASS via Getty Images

The World Health Organization (WHO) announced Friday that it has recommended two new drugs to treat COVID.

Why it matters: The recommendations come as cases spike around the world, and could especially serve lower-income countries that have struggled to contain the disease due to lack of vaccines and other medical necessities.

Details: WHO strongly recommends baricitinib, an oral drug typically used to treat rheumatoid arthritis, for patients with severe or critical symptoms. Administering it with corticosteroids is recommended.

  • WHO is also conditionally recommending use of the monoclonal antibody drug sotrovimab for treating mild or moderate symptoms in patients at high risk of hospitalization, including patients who are older, immunocompromised and unvaccinated.
  • "The extent to which these medicines will save lives depends on how widely available and affordable they will be," the organization said in a release.
  • The recommendations are based on evidence from seven trials involving over 4,000 patients who exhibited a wide range of COVID symptoms.

Worth noting: WHO said it is working to "secure global supply capacity and equitable and sustainable access to the newly recommended therapeutics."

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