On Friday 14’th January, the World Health Organization recommended the use of two new drugs Baricitinib and Casirivimab-Imdevimab for the treatment of COVID-19 patients.
As per a statement, released on 14 January, “The extent to which Baricitinib and Casirivimab-Imdevimab will save lives depends on how widely available and affordable they will be.”
The first drug, baricitinib: a Janus kinase (JAK) inhibitor, is strongly recommended for patients with severe or critical COVID-19. It suppresses the overstimulation of the immune system. According to WHO, this JAK inhibitor should be administered with corticosteroids.
Baricitinib is supplied as an oral drug (tablets), previously approved for the treatment of patients with rheumatoid arthritis. It provides an alternative to other arthritis drugs named IL-6 receptor blockers, recommended by WHO in the month of July 2021.
The World Health Organization has also conditionally recommended the use of Sotrovimab: a monoclonal antibody drug, to treat mild or moderate COVID-19 in patients who are at increased risk of hospitalization. This includes all those patients who are immunocompromised, older, having underlying complications such as diabetes, obesity, and hypertension, and those unvaccinated.
The WHO announced that Sotrovimab is an alternative to Casirivimab-Imdevimab, a monoclonal antibody cocktail, and recommended for COVID-19 treatment in the month of September, 2021.
Studies are under way on the effectiveness of monoclonal antibodies against the OMICRON, a variant of COVID-19 which has been called a variant of concern by WHO, but early laboratory findings demonstrate that sotrovimab retains its activity.
The panel of specialists developing the benchmarks also looked at a couple of other medications for severe and critical COVID-19, named: ruxolitinib and tofacitinib. By mentioning their uncertain effects, the World Health Organization made a conditional recommendation against their use.
The recommendations for Baricitinib and Sotrovimab, forming the eighth update of WHO’s living guidelines on therapeutics and COVID-19, are based on evidence from 7 trials involving more than 4,000 patients with non-severe, severe, and critical COVID-19.
The World Health Organization is in exchange of views with manufacturers in order to secure the global supply capacity and equitable and sustainable access to the newly recommended therapeutics.
The couple of newly recommended drugs: Baricitinib and Sotrovimab, have been summoned for the WHO Prequalification, which determines the Quality, Efficacy and Safety of priority health products to boost the access in lower income provinces.