Covid-19: Sotrovimab and Baricitinib, what are these two new treatments recommended by the WHO?

By with AFP

WHO anti-Covid treatment recommendations are regularly updated, based on clinical trials conducted on different types of patients

The World Health Organization (WHO) officially recommended this Friday two new treatments against Covid-19 in very specific cases, for a total now increased to five. In an opinion published in the medical journal The BMJ, WHO experts recommend treatment with synthetic antibodies, sotrovimab, and a drug commonly used against rheumatoid arthritis, baricitinib. Both are not intended for just any patient.

Sotrovimab is recommended for patients who have contracted mild Covid but are at high risk of hospitalization. Its benefit for patients who are not at risk is considered too low. Baricitinib is recommended for “patients with severe or critical Covid”, to whom it must be administered “in combination with corticosteroids”. In these patients, it “improves survival rates and reduces the need for mechanical ventilation.”

Reduced therapeutic arsenal

Until then, the WHO recommended three treatments: synthetic antibodies sold under the name Ronapreve, since September 2021, a class of drugs called “antagonists of interleukin 6” (tocilizumab and sarilumab), since July 2021 , and systematic corticosteroids for severely affected patients, since September 2020. Sotrovimab concerns the same type of patients as Ronapreve. “Their effectiveness against new variants such as Omicron is still uncertain”, however qualify the WHO experts.

Similarly, baricitinib “has the same effects” as interleukin-6 antagonists, and should be administered to the same patients. Baricitinib belongs to a family of drugs called “Janus kinase inhibitors” and is used against rheumatoid arthritis, an autoimmune disease. The therapeutic arsenal remains quite limited. In recent months, the WHO has rejected the use of several treatments.

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