WHO Recommends Arthritis Drugs to Lower Covid-19 Death Risk

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Laila Afifa

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  • TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - The World Health Organization or WHO recommended two types of drugs to help treat Covid-19 patients. The WHO recommended arthritis drugs Actemra from Roche and Kevzara from Sanofi with corticosteroids

    The WHO made the recommendation after conducting clinical trials. The data from some 11,000 patients showed that the drugs lowered the risk of death.

    The WHO concluded that treating severe and critical COVID patients with these interleukin-6 antagonists, capable of blocking inflammation "reduces the risk of death and the need for mechanical ventilation".

    According to the WHO analysis, the risk of dying within 28 days for patients getting one of the arthritis drugs with corticosteroids such as dexamethasone is 25%, compared with an assumed 33% risk among those who got standard care.

    For every 100 such patients, seven or more will survive without ventilators, the WHO said.

    Kevzara sales were reported to have risen by 30% last year after many felt the benefit of the drug. Despite the WHO's recommendation, Kevzara still has side effects such as digestive tract disorders, decreased immune response, and itching and rash on the injected skin.

    Meanwhile, Actemra is only available in hospitals with a doctor's prescription for patients with severe and critical symptoms. This drug works as a monoclonal antibody functioning as an IL-6 receptor antagonist.

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