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WHO approves two new drug to treat coronavirus patients. deets here

By Priyanka Verma 
Updated Date
WHO approves two new drug to treat coronavirus patients. deets here

The World Health Organization approved two new treatments for coronavirus disease (Covid-19) as Omicron cases put a strain on the healthcare system around the world. The WHO experts recommended arthritis drug baricitinib and synthetic antibody treatment Sotrovimab to stave off serious illness and death from Covid-19.

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“The strong recommendation for baricitinib in those with severe or critical illness reflects moderate certainty evidence for benefits on mortality, duration of mechanical ventilation and hospital length of stay (high certainty) with no observed increase in adverse effects leading to drug discontinuation,” the updated WHO guidelines say.

The experts suggested that baricitinib and IL-6 receptor blockers like tocilizumab and sarilumab have similar effects and the decision should be based on issues including cost and clinician experience.They also recommended Sotrovimab for people with non-serious Covid who are at the highest risk of hospitalisation, such as the elderly and people with chronic diseases.

The use of Sotrovimab in patients with non-severe illness led to a substantial reduction in the risk of hospitalisation and trivial benefits in those at lower risk. However, the drug probably has little or no impact on mortality and on mechanical ventilation, according to the guidelines.

“There were insufficient data to recommend one monoclonal antibody treatment over another, and evidence on their efficacy for emerging variants is likely to influence future recommendations,” it said.

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1.A World Health Organization (WHO) panel recommended the use of two drugs by Eli Lilly, and GlaxoSmithKline and Vir Biotechnology for Covid-19 patients, adding treatment options as the fast-spreading Omicron variant renders many ineffective. On Thursday, the panel recommended Lilly’s baricitinib, sold under brand name Olumiant, for patients with severe Covid-19 in combination with corticosteroids. Also, it conditionally endorsed GSK-Vir’s antibody therapy for non-severe patients at the highest risk of hospitalisation.

2.A United Nations report said that the deadly wave of Covid-19 Delta variant stole 240,000 lives in India between April and June in 2021 and disrupted economic recovery, and warned that “similar episodes” could take place in the near term. “In India, a deadly wave of infection with the Delta variant stole 240,000 lives between April and June and disrupted economic recovery. Similar episodes could take place in the near term,” the report said.

3.Polish scientists have found a gene that they say more than doubles the risk of becoming severely ill with Covid-19, a discovery they hope could help doctors identify people who are most at risk from the disease. The researchers from the Medical University of Bialystok found that the gene was the fourth most important factor determining how seriously a person suffers from Covid-19, after age, weight and gender.

4.US President Joe Biden announced that the government will double to 1 billion the rapid, at-home Covid-19 tests to be distributed free to Americans, along with the most protective N95 masks, as he highlighted his efforts to “surge” resources to help the country weather the spike in coronavirus cases. He also announced that starting next week, 1,000 military medical personnel will begin deploying across the country to help overwhelmed medical facilities ease staff shortages due to the highly transmissible omicron variant.

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5.The UK government announced that the minimum period of self-isolation for someone who tests positive for Covid-19 will be reduced from the current seven days to five, effective from Monday. As per the new rule, fully vaccinated people will be able to leave isolation on day six after negative lateral flow tests on that day and a day before – days five and six.

6.On Friday, Pfizer Inc said it applied for Japanese government approval for its oral Covid-19 treatment. Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said last month he spoke with Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla to secure 2 million doses of Pfizer’s antiviral pill.

7.Two brand-new Covid-19 pills that were supposed to be an important weapon against the pandemic in the US are in short supply and have played little role in the fight against the omicron wave of infections. The problem, in part, is that production is still being ramped up and the medicines can take anywhere from five to eight months to manufacture.

8.WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a tweet on Thursday, “…while Omicron causes less severe Covid-19 disease than Delta, it remains a dangerous virus, particularly for those who are unvaccinated. Almost 50,000 deaths a week is too many. Learning to live with this virus does not mean we should accept this number of deaths.”

9.Pakistan reported more than 3,000 new coronavirus cases on Thursday, a whopping 46 per cent jump, and the highest single-day surge witnessed over the last four months, official data revealed on Thursday. As many as 3,019 cases were reported, compared to 2,074 24 hours earlier. Consequently, the positivity rate also jumped to 6.12 per cent from 4.7 per cent reported a day earlier.

10.The AstraZeneca Vaxzevaria vaccine showed an increased antibody response to the Omicron variant of Covid-19 after a third booster dose, preliminary data released by the Anglo-Swedish biopharma major said on Thursday. The company said it is submitting this additional data to health authorities around the world given the urgent need for third dose boosters.

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