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WHO recommends 2 new drugs for patients

January 15, 2022 00:00:00

The UN health agency has recommended two new drugs for Covid patients, report agencies.

The drug Baricitinib, also known as a Janus kinase (JAK) inhibitor and used to treat rheumatoid arthritis, has been strongly recommended for patients with severe or critical covid-19 in combination with corticosteroids.

The World Health Org-anization (WHO) Guide-line Development Group of international experts gave the advice in the British Medical Journal Thursday.

Their recommendation is based on moderate certainty evidence that it improves survival and reduces the need for ventilation, with no observed increase in adverse effects.

The WHO experts note that Baricitinib has similar effects to other arthritis drugs called interleukin-6 (IL-6) inhibitors so, when both are available, they suggest choosing one based on cost, availability, and clinician experience. It is not recommended to use both drugs at the same time.

However, the experts advise against the use of two other JAK inhibitors (ruxolitinib and tofacitinib) for patients with severe or critical Covid-19 because low certainty evidence from small trials failed to show benefit and suggests a possible increase in serious side effects with tofacitinib.

Meanwhile, the overall number of Covid cases surpassed 321 million, with a spike in cases of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus across the world.

According to Worldo-meters tally, the total case count mounted to 321,382,091 while the death toll from the virus reached 5,541,436 on Friday evening.

On Thursday 3.2m new cases reported globally, Worldometers tally shows.

More than 9.64 billion doses have been administered across 184 countries, according to data collected by Bloomberg. The latest rate was roughly 40.7 million doses a day.

The US has recorded 64,044,568 cases so far and 846,371 people have died from the virus in the country, the data shows.

Another report adds: A Johnson and Johnson COVID-19 vaccine booster shot is 85 per cent effective in protecting against being hospitalised by the omicron variant for 1-2 months after it is received, the head of South Africa's Medical Research Council (SAMRC) said on Friday.

Glenda Grey presented the findings of a SAMRC study at a South African health ministry briefing on the COVID-19 fourth wave, which has been driven by the new variant.

"We saw an 85 per cent vaccine effectiveness and we saw that this kind of vaccine effectiveness is maintained for up to two months," she said. We are very happy to report very high levels of vaccine effectiveness against Omicron."

The study looked at hospitalisations of healthcare workers infected with during the fourth wave, and found that the booster shot reduced hospitalisations by 63 per cent in the first two weeks after the booster, going up to 85 per cent after that for between one and two months.

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