Covid-19: what are the five treatments recommended by the WHO and in which cases?

HEALTH CRISIS – Apart from vaccination, several treatments are recommended by the World Health Organization to fight against Covid-19. But they are only recommended for certain types of patients.

They are now five in number. The list of treatments against Covid officially recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) was indeed extended this Friday, with the addition of Sotrovimab and Baricitinib. But if the number grows, the recommendations of the organization only concern very specific cases. We take stock.

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France affected by a fifth wave of Covid-19

Ronapreve and Sotrovimab for patients at risk

Two synthetic antibody treatments are part of the WHO recommendations. First, Ronapreve, authorized in France by the High Health Authority, has been recommended since September 2021 by the United Nations agency. It is particularly so for “patients with non-severe forms of Covid who are at high risk of hospitalization”, such as the elderly or those with weakened immune systems, the WHO said in an advisory.

The second, Sotrovimab, has been recommended since Friday in the same cases as Ronapreve. The benefit of this treatment authorized in France under the name Xevudy is considered too low for patients who are not at risk.

But the interest of these two treatments is nuanced by the WHO in the case of an infection with the Omicron variant. “Their efficacy against new variants like Omicron is still uncertain”, write the experts in an opinion published Friday in the medical journal The BMJ.

Tocilizumab, Sarilumab and Baricitinib against severe forms

Among the recommended treatments are also products intended to block interleukin 6 (in order to avoid a runaway immune response), and more specifically Tocilizumab and Sarilumab. They are aimed at patients with a severe or critical form of Covid-19 and can be combined with corticosteroids, according to the opinion published by the WHO in July 2021.

Baricitinib, a drug usually used against rheumatoid arthritis and which joined the list of WHO recommendations on Friday, is recommended for the same patient profile as Tocilizumab and Sarilumab and must also be administered “in combination with corticosteroids”. In patients with a severe form of the virus, it “improves survival rates and reduces the need to be placed on mechanical ventilation”, notes the WHO.

Corticosteroids against severe forms of the virus

As for corticosteroids, the WHO suggests their use since September 2020 “in the case of patients with a severe or critical form of Covid-19”. On the other hand, the organization advises not to administer them “for the treatment of patients with a non-severe form”.

Read also

  • Covid-19: two new antiviral treatments recommended by WHO for specific cases
  • Covid-19: are the millions of tests per week still useful?

WHO anti-Covid treatment recommendations are regularly updated based on clinical trials conducted on different types of patients. In recent months, the organization has rejected the use of several treatments such as the injection of plasma from recovered Covid patients, Ivermectin and Hydroxychloroquine.

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