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WHO okays two new treatments for curing COVID-19 patients

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The World Health Organization approved two new treatments for curing Covid-19 patients on Friday as Omicron cases continued to surge worldwide.

The World Health Organization approved two new treatments for curing Covid-19 patients on Friday as Omicron cases continued to surge worldwide.

WHO experts said arthritis drug baricitinib used with corticosteroids to treat severe or critical Covid patients led to better survival rates and reduced need for ventilators.

Experts also recommended synthetic antibody treatment drug Sotrovimab for people with non-serious Covid at highest risk of hospitalisation, such as the elderly, people with immunodeficiencies or chronic diseases such as diabetes.

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

The recommendations have been published in British medical Journal  BMJ.

Only three other treatments for Covid-19 have received WHO approval, starting with corticosteroids for severely ill patients in September 2020.

Corticosteroids are cheap and widely available and help to reduce inflammation that accompanies severe cases.

Arthritis drugs tocilizumab and sarilumab, which the WHO endorsed in July, are IL-6 inhibitors that suppress a dangerous overreaction of the immune system to the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

Baricitinib comes in another category of drugs known as Janus kinase inhibitors, but it falls under the same guidelines as the IL-6 inhibitors.

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

The WHO's Covid treatment guidelines are updated regularly based on fresh data from clinical trials.