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The World Health Organization (WHO) has added the “life-saving” interleukin-6 receptor blocker to its COVID-19 treatment list-this is the second drug recommended for this disease-as the world The pandemic continues to accelerate.

WHO says these drugs work particularly well when used with these drugs Corticosteroids, Which was recommended by the World Health Organization in September 2020.

WHO Director-General Tedros Tedros said in a statement: “These drugs bring hope to patients and families suffering from the devastating effects of the severe and critical COVID-19.”

Patients with severe COVID-19 cases often experience an overreaction of the immune system, and interleukin-6 blocking drugs (tocilizumab and sarilumab) suppress the overreaction.

According to the WHO, trials have shown that in critically ill patients, the use of these drugs can reduce the number of deaths per 1,000 patients by 15 people. For critically ill patients, the use of interleukin 6 means that the number of deaths per 1,000 patients will be reduced by as much as 28. Compared with standard care, these drugs also mean a 28% reduction in the chance of using ventilators for critically ill and critically ill patients.

The suggestion comes from countries in the world including South Africa, Indonesia And Bangladesh is fighting a devastating new wave of viruses caused by the delta variant that first appeared in India.The World Trade Organization is already working Cancel patent protection for COVID-19 vaccine To improve access in poorer countries, there are calls for the removal of intellectual property barriers for drugs that are essential for effective treatment of severe coronaviruses.

A box of tocilizumab, usually used to treat rheumatoid arthritis, is now recommended for patients with severe COVID-19 [File: Pascal Rossignol/Reuters]

Tocilizumab belongs to a class of drugs called monoclonal antibodies (mAbs), used to treat various diseases including arthritis and cancer, and is produced by the Swiss pharmaceutical giant Roche. It markets the drug under the brand name Actemra.

Following WHO’s recommendations, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF in its French acronym) urged Roche to lower the price of the drug, make it affordable and easy to obtain, and share its know-how, master cell line and technology, To allow other manufacturers to make drugs through the world.

“This drug is a scarce resource for treating critical COVID-19 cases and reducing the need for ventilators and medical oxygen in many places,” said Julien Potet, policy adviser for neglected tropical diseases in the MSF Interview Movement. In a statement. “Roche must stop business as usual and take urgent measures to make this drug available and affordable to everyone who needs it by lowering prices and transferring technology, know-how, and cell lines to other manufacturers. Too many lives are in danger.”

Most existing mAbs are expensive, making them unavailable in low- and middle-income countries.

According to MSF, although tocilizumab has been on the market since 2009, its price is still high in most countries/regions-from US$410 in Australia to US$646 in India and US$3,625 in the United States. COVID-19 dosage. It added that the cost of producing tocilizumab is estimated to be as low as US$40 per dose of 400 mg.

Sarilumab is the second mAb recommended by the WHO. It is produced by the American pharmaceutical company Regeneron and the French pharmaceutical company Sanofi, which market the product under the Kevzara brand. According to MSF, Regeneron has applied for and obtained patents for sarilumab and its preparations in at least 50 low- and middle-income countries.

The WHO also calls on manufacturers to reduce drug prices, accept transparent, non-exclusive licensing agreements or give up exclusive rights.

Ghebreyesus said: “IL-6 receptor blockers are still unavailable and unaffordable for most people in the world.”

“The unfair distribution of vaccines means that people in low- and middle-income countries are most vulnerable to severe COVID-19. Therefore, the greatest demand for these drugs is in the countries that currently have the least access. We must urgently change this.”

The recommendation was made after analyzing data from more than 10,000 patients participating in 27 clinical trials.



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