No to remdesivir, molnupiravir: What does WHO’s updated guidance on COVID-19 treatment say?

Based on the latest clinical trial evidence for existing and new therapies, the World Health Organization (WHO) has updated its guidance treatments for patients with the COVID-19.

The health body said the updated COVID-19 guidance provides latest, trustworthy advice on the management of the disease to help doctors make better decisions.

The guidance takes account of evidence relating to safety, prognosis, resources, access, and equity issues, as well as patient values and preferences, the WHO said.

The new recommendations published by The BMJ are part of a living guideline, developed by the WHO with the methodological support of Norwegian non-profit MAGIC Evidence Ecosystem Foundation.

WHO updated guidance for COVID-19 treatment

As per WHO, the update includes distinct risk categories to help doctors more accurately assess whether an individual is at high, moderate, or low risk of hospital admission and tailor treatment accordingly.

It recommends the use of antiviral drug nirmatrelvir-ritonavir in patients with non-severe COVID-19 at high and moderate risk of hospital admission.

Also, it recommends against the use of the antiviral drugs remdesivir and molnupiravir for patients with non-severe COVID-19 at moderate and low risk of hospital admission (treatment is suggested for patients at high risk of admission).

The WHO strongly recommends against the use of ivermectin for patients with non-severe COVID-19.

The update also recommends against the use of a new antiviral (VV116) for patients with COVID-19 except in clinical trials, regardless of illness severity.

The experts say the new recommendations reflect changes in the virulence and transmissibility of circulating S-CoV-2 variants and sub-variants, along with changes in immunity related to global vaccinations.

These changes have led to lower baseline risks of severe illness and death for most patients with non-severe COVID-19, they said.

With inputs from PTI

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