WHO recommends lifesaving tocilizumab, sarilumab for critically ill Covid-19 patients
- The WHO urged drug manufacturers to reduce prices of the IL-6 blocking drugs – tocilizumab and sarilumab – and make supplies available to low- and middle-income countries.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has recommended interleukin-6 receptor blockers for the treatment of coronavirus disease (Covid-19) patients who are severely or critically ill. The UN health agency on Tuesday updated its patient care guidelines to include the drugs that are lifesaving in critically ill Covid-19 patients, especially when administered alongside corticosteroids.
The drugs were recommended after analysing data from over 10,000 patients enrolled in 27 clinical trials. According to the WHO, patients severely or critically ill with Covid-19 often suffer from an overreaction of the immune system, which can be very harmful to the patient’s health. IL-6 blocking drugs – tocilizumab and sarilumab – act to suppress this overreaction and were in high demand during India’s devastating second wave of Covid-19 which claimed thousands of lives.
A study showed that administering interleukin-6 receptor blocker drugs to critically ill patients with Covid-19 reduces the odds of death by 13%, compared to the standard care. The chances of mechanical ventilation required by severe and critical patients were also reduced by 28%. These are the first drugs found to be effective against Covid-19 since corticosteroids were recommended by WHO in September 2020.
The WHO urged drug manufacturers to reduce prices of the lifesaving drugs and make supplies available to low- and middle-income countries, especially where the virus is surging. While highlighting the inaccessibility of IL-6 in the majority of the world, WHO director-general Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesu said in a statement that the drugs offer hope for patients and families suffering from the impact of severe Covid-19.
“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,” the WHO chief added.
Louis Bloomsfield and colleagues at the Pressure Drop brewery are taking part in a six-month trial of a four-day working week, with 3,000 others from 60 UK companies. Pressure Drop, based in Tottenham Hale, is hoping the experiment will not only improve their employees' productivity but also their well-being. At the same time, it will reduce their carbon footprint. Pressure Drop brewery's co-founder Sam Smith said the new way of working would be a learning process.
A Tara Air's 9 NAET twin-engine aircraft carrying 19 passengers, flying from Pokhara to Jomsom in Nepal, has lost contact on Sunday morning, news agency ANI reported citing airport authorities. The plane lost contact at 9:55am, it added. The missing aircraft was carrying four Indians and three Japanese nationals. The remaining were Nepali citizens and the aircraft had 22 passengers, including the crew, ANI added.
Days after 21 people were killed in a shooting at an elementary school in Texas, US senator Ted Cruz was confronted over the incident after he addressed an event of the National Rifles Association. A video put up by a group of activists - the Invisible Houston - shows the senator being questioned over the incident.
Spraying a cow with pesticides, health workers target blood-sucking ticks at the heart of Iraq's worst detected outbreak of a fever that causes people to bleed to death. This year Iraq has recorded 19 deaths among 111 CCHF cases in humans, according to the Word Health Organization. The virus has no vaccine and onset can be swift, causing severe bleeding both internally and externally and especially from the nose.
The United States expressed concern on Saturday over China's "efforts to restrict and manipulate" the UN human rights chief's visit to the Xinjiang region where Beijing is accused of detaining over a million people in indoctrination camps. Michelle Bachelet's long-planned trip this week took her to the far-western Xinjiang region, where the United States has labeled China's detention of a million Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities a "genocide."