New Delhi: The World Health Organization (WHO) has recommended two new drugs – Eli Lilly & Co.’s rheumatoid arthritis drug and GlaxoSmithKline Plc’s monoclonal antibody – for treating patients with COVID-19.
According to the WHO Guideline Development Group, Lilly’s Baricitinib drug is “strongly recommended” for patients with severe or critical disease in combination with corticosteroids. It is a Janus kinase (JAK) inhibitor- a class of drugs used to treat autoimmune conditions, blood and bone marrow cancers, and rheumatoid arthritis.
The recommendation is based on “moderate certainty evidence” that it improves survival and reduces the need for ventilation.
The experts have advised against the use of two other JAK inhibitors (ruxolitinib and tofacitinib) in such cases.
The WHO has recommended the use of a monoclonal antibody, known as Sotrovimab, in non-severe cases. The drug should only be administered to patients at the highest risk of hospitalisation, such as the elderly, people with immunodeficiencies or chronic diseases such as diabetes.
Last year, the WHO had approved Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc’s monoclonal antibody to treat COVID patients.