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WHO Approves Two New COVID-19 Treatments Amid Rising Omicron Cases

Arthritis drug 'baricitinib', when used with corticosteroids to treat critical cases, showed better survival rates.

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<div class="paragraphs"><p>The news comes as Omicron cases have led to a spike in infections across the world.</p></div>
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The World Health Organization (WHO) gave the nod to two new COVID-19 treatments on Friday, 14 September.

The news comes as Omicron cases have led to a spike in infections across the world. The WHO predicts that half of Europe will be infected with the virus by March.

The WHO added that the arthritis drug 'baricitinib', when used with corticosteroids to treat severe or critical COVID patients, showed better survival rates and reduced the need for ventilators.

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In their recommendation in The BMJ, WHO experts recommended synthetic antibody treatment 'sotrovimab' for people with non-serious COVID, at the highest risk of hospitalisation, such as the elderly, and people with chronic diseases like diabetes.

Sotrovimab's benefits for people not at risk of hospitalisation were seen insignificant and the WHO said its effectiveness against new variants, including Omicron, was "still uncertain."

Only three other treatments for COVID-19 have received WHO approval, starting with corticosteroids for severely ill patients.

Corticosteroids are affordable, widely available and combat inflammation that commonly accompanies severe cases.

Arthritis drugs tocilizumab and sarilumab, endorsed by the WHO in July, suppress a dangerous overreaction of the immune system to the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

"When both are available, choose one based on issues including cost and clinician experience," the guidelines say.

(With inputs from NDTV)

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