Mental Health, HIV

WHO Unveils Two New Drugs To Treat COVID-19 Infection, See Them

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has unveiled two new drugs to treat COVID-19 infection.

The WHO revealed the names of the new drugs. They are baricitinib and sotrovimab.

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It was obtained from PUNCH that these new drugs were recommended to treat severe and non-severe COVID-19 infection.

One of the drugs named baricitinib is also known as Janus Kinase (JAK). It is used to treat rheumatoid arthritis.

The WHO strongly recommends the Baricitinib drugs for patients dealing with severe COVID-19 infection.

The drug is taken together with corticosteroids.

WHO Guideline Development Group of international experts said no research has observed any side effects.

It stressed that the recommendation is based on the following:

  • Moderate certainty evidence.
  • It improves survival.
  • Reduces the need for ventilation.
  • No known side effects.

The experts further said that Baricitinib has similar effects to arthritis drugs known as interleukin-6 (IL-6) inhibitors.

It said that this drug can be used to also treat the COVID-19 infection and may be used on these factors:

  • Cost.
  • Availability.
  • Clinical experience.

Experts warned against using both drugs at the same time.

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The WHO experts also warned against the use of two other JAK inhibitors to treat severe COVID-19. They are ruxolitinib and tofacinib.

They said that evidence fail to reveal the benefits of this drug on COVID-19. Instead, there is a possible increase in crucial side effects with tofacitinib.

Meanwhile, the WHO revealed a conditional recommendation for the use of monoclonal antibody sotroviman.

This was disclosed in a press release available to PUNCH.

Sotrovimab was recommended for patients with non-severe COVID-19 infection. However, this recommendation is strictly for those with a higher risk of hospitalisation.

The statement read:

“A similar recommendation has been made by WHO for another monoclonal antibody drug (casirivimab-imdevimab).

“The experts also note that there were insufficient data to recommend one monoclonal antibody treatment over another – and they acknowledge that their effectiveness against new variants like omicron is still uncertain.

“As such, they say guidelines for monoclonal antibodies will be updated when additional data become available.

“Today’s recommendations are based on new evidence from seven trials involving over 4,000 patients with non-severe, severe, and critical COVID-19 infection.

“They are part of a living guideline, developed by the World Health Organisation with the methodological support of MAGIC Evidence Ecosystem Foundation, to provide trustworthy guidance on the management of COVID-19 and help doctors make better decisions with their patients.”

The UN health agency also advised the application of using living guidelines.

Also read the latest health news in Nigeria on COVID-19

It said these are beneficial in updating previously vetted COVID-19 research. This is because they enable researchers to note down previewed evidence-based research.

“To make their recommendations, the panel considered a combination of evidence assessing relative benefits and harms, values and preferences, and feasibility issues.

“Today’s guidance adds to previous recommendations for the use of interleukin-6 receptor blockers and systemic corticosteroids for patients with severe or critical COVID-19; conditional recommendations for the use of casirivimab-imdevimab (another monoclonal antibody treatment) in selected patients; and against the use of convalescent plasma, ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine in patients with COVID-19 regardless of disease severity,” WHO noted.

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