The World Health Organization (WHO) today issued a recommendation in favor of the use of the drug baricitinib in combination with corticosteroids for the treatment of severely ill patients with coronavirus covid-19. This recommendation is based on the evidence obtained and showing that this product improves the probability of surviving the complications that the disease can cause and reduces the need for mechanical ventilation, according to a statement issued by the organization.
Baricitinib has not been found to cause adverse effects in research and trials.
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The civil humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders (MSF), which has provided personnel and equipment assistance to countries most in need during the pandemic, reacted to the new WHO recommendation by asking governments to do what is necessary so that patents are not an obstacle to accessing this treatment.
The baricitinib is a drug commonly used to treat rheumatoid arthritis and its usefulness in treating critical cases of covid-19 resembles that of another similar drug, the interleukin-6.
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The WHO He said that when both are available, one or the other should be used depending on which is cheaper and on which there is more clinical information.
Instead, he advised against the use of two other drugs of a similar category -the ruxolitinib and the tofacitinib– because the few trials that have been done with them showed no benefit for patients and in the case of tofacitinib it was even observed that it could cause serious side effects.
These recommendations come from the results of seven trials involving 4,000 patients with covid-19 moderate, severe and severe.
Meanwhile, MSF indicated in a statement that Baricitinib has generic versions that can be purchased in India and Bangladesh at prices much lower than those charged by its original producer, the US company Eli Lilly.
According to the humanitarian organization, this drug can be bought for 6.7 dollars in Bangladesh and 5.5 dollars in India for a complete treatment in cases of covid-19 (4 mg daily for fourteen days), while Eli Lilly can buy it. It is priced at $ 2,326 per treatment.
“However, in many countries, generic baricitinib is not available because it is under a patent monopoly, with Eli Lilly having applied for and obtained patents in many places, including countries hit hard by the pandemic such as Brazil, South Africa, Indonesia and Russia”said the NGO.
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