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Two new treatments for coronavirus get an approval from WHO

By Tania Bagwan,

Read on to learn about Baricitinib and Sotrovimab: Two new coronavirus treatments.

On Friday, January 14, 2022, WHO approved the Baricitinib and Sotrovimab treatments with an aim to increase the arsenal of tools against the coronavirus.

We are two long years into the pandemic and the threat of coronavirus is still looming large. The continuous emergence of its new variants has proved that the virus is not exhibiting any signs of leaving imminently. With medical infrastructures around the world already heavily stressed, the new, rapidly-spreading Omicron variant is simply adding fuel to the fire. In fact, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has predicted that half of Europe will be infected by March of this year. Although vaccines are being administered at an exponential rate across the globe, the new strain is proving to override many of its effects. On Friday, January 14, 2022, the WHO approved two new variants, namely: Baricitinib and Sotrovimab. The aim is to increase the arsenal of tools that can be used to control, manage and fight off the virus. Read on to learn more about them. 

What is the Baricitinib treatment? 
Sold under the brand name Olumiant, Baricitinib has been recommended by experts to help treat patients who are suffering from severe COVID infections. Initially, it was a drug commonly used in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. The WHO noted that its use successfully showed improvements in survival rates of those affected with the virus. Moreover, no increase in adverse effects was observed and it reduced the need for ventilators, an aspect that has put overwhelming load on hospitals during the second wave of the pandemic. What makes it an ideal addition to the already-existing list of treatments is its availability in for low and middle-income countries. The other monoclonal antibody treatments (which are essentially made by cloning a unique white blood cell) are still short in supply in many parts of the world.  

What is the Sotrovimab treatment? 
GlaxoSmithKline and Vir Biotechnology’s Sotrovimab is designated by the WHO to be an ideal treatment option for patients with non-serious cases of the virus who are at highest risk of hospitalisation. These include the elderly, those with pre-existing auto-immune deficiencies or chronic illnesses. This single monoclonal antibody drug has proved to be extremely affective in cases of the highly transmittable Omicron variant. It uniquely works by binding to the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein, thus not allowing the virus to attach to and enter human cells in the first place. According to experts, it is most effective when taken during the early stages of the disease- around 5 days within the exhibition of its symptoms.