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WHO panel OKs arthritis drug for severe cases

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The Times Of India
14th January, 2022 05:38 IST

HYDERABAD: The World He alth Organisation (WHO) guideline development group of international experts has recommended the use of rheumatoid arthritis drug, Baricitinib in patients with severe Covid disease in combination with corticosteroids.

The latest recommendation for Baricitinib has been made on “moderate certainty evidence”, based on three randomised controlled Baricitinib trials conducted on 2,559 participants, that the drug improves survival and reduces the need for ventilation with no observed increase in adverse effects, the WHO expert group said in the prestigious peer-reviewed journal, BMJ.

Baricitinib is a Janus Kinase inhibitor ( JAK ) that inhibits JAKs (enzymes) that send signals to cells to make more cytokines, thereby preventing a cytokine storm.

The drug was being used in combination with Remdesivir after USFDA following EUA in November 2020. According to WHO experts, Baricitinib has similar effects to other arthritis drugs called interleukin-6 (IL-6) inhibitors, which is why they have suggested choosing either one of them based on cost, availability and clinician experience.

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