The two drugs, tested in seven trials of 4,000 COVID patients, may protect the immune system from overload and reduce the risk of breakdown
While vaccines – turning pharmaceutical companies into global, household names – make mainstream news, existing drugs used for COVID patients remain mostly obscure. When people are hospitalized with COVID, they are entrusted with a clever cocktail of drugs. The human body fights an unknown entity with everything it has, which can lead to complications. This potential set of complications is especially pronounced in severe cases.
The World Health Organization today (January 14) approved two drugs for use in patients with COVID. One is a full recommendation, while the other is only conditional.
The first drug, baricitinib, is recommended for patients with severe COVID.
It is part of a class of drugs called Janus kinase (JAK) inhibitors that suppress overstimulation of the immune system. The WHO recommends that it be given with corticosteroids, as it is normally used in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis.
The WHO found that this drug would improve survival, reducing the need for ventilation – it was fully recommended.
The conditionally recommended drug is ideal for milder cases of COVID, in patients at risk of hospitalization. This includes older, immunocompromised patients with underlying conditions such as diabetes, hypertension and obesity, and those who are unvaccinated.
It is also known as a neutralizing monoclonal antibody (nMAb). nMAbs are synthetic proteins that act like human antibodies in the immune system. They are made by cloning an antibody that can stick to the spike protein of the virus and neutralize it. They stick to the virus and prevent it from entering your lungs and causing an infection, which is why this treatment is often offered after a successful PCR result to the most vulnerable people.
So far, he seems to be standing up to Omicron.