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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."

Go deeper

Jan 15, 2022 - Health

Experts warn of more COVID-19 variants after Omicron

Three COVID-19 testing companies place testing locations outside Grand Central Terminal on Jan. 14 in New York City. Photo: Alexi Rosenfeld/Getty Images

Experts are warning that subsequent COVID-19 variants are likely to come after Omicron, AP reports.

Why it matters: The warnings come as there's no guarantee that subsequent variants "will cause milder illness or that existing vaccines will work against them," underscoring the need for widespread vaccination, AP writes.

Momentum builds to ban lawmakers from trading stocks

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Some progressive Democrats and MAGA Republicans are uniting on a proposal to ban sitting lawmakers from trading individual stocks, although it's unlikely that leadership will bring the bill up for a vote.

Why it matters: Members of Congress have great power to move stock prices, and great financial incentives to do so.

Thousands without power as "hazardous" winter storm lashes East Coast

Satellite imagery of the Northeastern U.S. taken by NOAA on Jan. 17. Photo: NOAA

A major winter storm was lashing much of the East Coast on Sunday, causing widespread power outages and disrupting travel over the holiday weekend.

The latest: The Weather Prediction Center said in a storm summary Monday that winter storm warnings are still in effect for portions of the Central Appalachians, Ohio Valley, interior Mid-Atlantic, and Northeast, while portions of the Central Appalachians and coastal New England are under high wind warnings.

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