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WHO recommends arthritis drugs to reduce risk of death in critical covid patients

WHO recommends arthritis drugs to reduce risk of death in critical covid patients

As per a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), arthritis drugs tocilizumab and sarilumab can reduce the risk of death and the need for ventilation in Covid-19 patients. Administering one of these drugs to hospitalized covid patients in addition to corticosteroids reduces the risk of death by 17 per cent as compared to the use of corticosteroids alone. The risk of ventilation or death was reduced by 21 per cent in patients, not on mechanical ventilation. The results have prompted the World Health Organisation to recommend the drugs for critical covid patients.

The results are based on an analysis of 27 randomised trials across 28 countries and involving 11,000 patients. This is the second drug identified as effective against Covid-19 since WHO recommended corticosteroids in September 2020.

The immune system of critical covid patients can cause an overreaction of the immune system which is suppressed by Interleukin-6 blocking drugs such as tocilizumab and sarilumab.

"These drugs offer hope for patients and families who are suffering from the devastating impact of severe and critical Covid-19. But IL-6 receptor blockers remain inaccessible and unaffordable for the majority of the world," WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said.

"The inequitable distribution of vaccines means that people in low- and middle-income countries are most susceptible to severe forms of Covid-19. So, the greatest need for these drugs is in countries that currently have the least access. We must urgently change this," he added. WHO also called upon manufacturers to reduce prices and make supplies available to low and middle-income countries to increase access and affordability of these life-saving products.

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TAGS:WHO Covid Updates 
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