WHO advises against antibody treatment for Covid patientstext_fields
The WHO said that antibody drugs sotrovimab and casirivimab-imdevimab are not working on new variants like Omicron. The UN body has now strongly advised against antibody treatments for Covid-19 patients.
Antibody drugs bind themselves to the coronavirus' spike protein which neutralises the virus's ability to infect cells. WHO's new recommendation goes against its previous conditional recommendations.
The new recommendation is based on emerging evidence from laboratory studies involving five randomised trials with 7,643 patients. It recorded 13 fewer deaths per 1,000 patients with severe Covid-19 taking remdesivir, but 34 more deaths per 1,000 patients with critical Covid-19 taking the drug.
The updater further said that the WHO made a conditional recommendation for the use of the antiviral drug remdesivir in patients with severe Covid-19 and a conditional recommendation against its use in patients with critical Covid-19. "These new trial data provided sufficiently trustworthy evidence to demonstrate benefits in patients with severe Covid-19, but not critical Covid-19."
The panel considered the benefits of remdesivir to be modest and of moderate certainty for key outcomes such as mortality and mechanical ventilation, resulting in a conditional recommendation, said the UN body.
Three drugs used to treat arthritis - the IL-6 receptor blockers tocilizumab, sarilumab, and the JAK inhibitor baricitinib are now being recommended to treat patients with severe or critical Covid-19. The WHO panel acknowledged that some cost and resource implications associated with these drugs can exacerbate health inequities.