In updated guidance on therapeutics for COVID-19, the World Health Organization has added recommendations on two new drugs to treat the disease

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In the eighth update of its guidelines on therapeutics for COVID-19, the World Health Organization (WHO) has recommended two new drugs to treat COVID-19, although the extent of their use will depend on availability and cost.

The recommendations for the oral anti-arthritis drug, baricitinib, provide an alternative to interleukin-6 receptor blockers, which have been recommended by the WHO since July 2021.

The WHO has also conditionally recommended the use of the monoclonal antibody drug sotrovimab as an alternative to casirivimab–imdevimab for treating mild or moderate COVID-19 in older patients, those who are immunocompromised, those with diabetes, hypertension, or obesity, and those who are unvaccinated.

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

In a press release, WHO has said that it is in discussion with manufacturers to secure global supply and equitable and sustainable access to these newly recommended therapies. The Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator (ACT-A) is looking to expand licensing to make the products more affordable for low- and middle-income countries.

The panel of experts developing the guidelines also looked at two other drugs for severe and critical COVID-19: ruxolitinib and tofacitinib. However, given their uncertain effects, the WHO made a conditional recommendation against their use.

This article was originally published on Univadis, part of the Medscape Professional Network.

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