WHO updates its guidance on treatments for patients with COVID-19

The new recommendations help doctors assess each individual’s risk of severe illness, hospital admission and death

World Health Organisation (Photo: IANS)
World Health Organisation (Photo: IANS)


The World Health Organization has updated its guidance on treatments for patients with COVID-19, providing latest, trustworthy advice on the management of the disease to help doctors make better decisions.

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.

The guidance incorporates the latest clinical trial evidence for existing and new COVID-19 therapies and takes account of evidence relating to safety, prognosis, resources, access, and equity issues, as well as patient values and preferences, the WHO said.

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.

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

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

The experts say the new recommendations reflect changes in the virulence and transmissibility of circulating SARS-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.

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