The first new drug that is recommended for critical COVID-19 cases is baricitinib, an oral drug that suppresses the immune system when overstimulated.
The WHO recommends baricitinib is given with corticosteroids.
The second drug which should be used for mild cases where a person has a high chance of hospitalization is sotrovimab, a monoclonal antibody drug.
This should be given to individuals who are unvaccinated, older, have a compromised immune system or are obese, according to the WHO.
“The extent to which these medicines will save lives depends on how widely available and affordable they will be,” the WHO said in its statement.
The recommendations come as concerns arise that existing COVID-19 treatments will not be effective against the omicron variant.
The two drugs were also invited on Friday to go through the WHO’s Prequalification Unit, which “assesses the quality, efficacy and safety of priority health products to increase access in lower income countries.”
The WHO recommended the two drugs after evaluating evidence gathered in seven trials examining 4,000 mild, severe and critical COVID-19 cases.
The Food and Drug Administration has already approved baricitinib and sotrovimab for emergency use.
The WHO has recommended against ruxolitinib and tofacitinib due to their uncertain effects.