WHO recommends antibody treatment for critical Covid patients

New Delhi: COVID-19 patients at high risk of hospitalisation or those with severe disease should be given a combination of two antibody treatments, according to latest World Health Organization guidelines published in The BMJ on Friday.

The WHO Guideline Development Group (GDG) panel recommends treatment combining casirivimab and imdevimab for two specific groups of patients with COVID-19.

The first are patients with non-severe COVID-19 who are at highest risk of hospitalisation and the second are those with severe or critical COVID-19 who are seronegative, meaning they have not mounted their own antibody response to COVID-19.

The first recommendation is based on new evidence from three trials that have not yet been peer reviewed. The trial show that casirivimab and imdevimab may reduce the risk of hospitalisation and duration of symptoms in those at highest risk of severe disease, such as unvaccinated, older, or immunosuppressed patients.

The second recommendation is based on data from another trial which shows that the two antibodies probably reduce deaths and the need for mechanical ventilation in seronegative patients.

This study showed that treatment with Casirivimab and imdevimab led 49 fewer deaths per 1,000 in the severely ill and 87 fewer deaths in the critically ill patients.

For all other COVID-19 patients, any benefits of this antibody treatment are unlikely to be meaningful, the panel noted.