Cell Therapy of COVID-19

COVID-19 is the largest pandemic in modern history, the number of infected persons in the world already reaches about 5 million people, and the number of deaths reaches 300,000 and this is in 5 months period.

There is no effective treatment for COVID-19, but cell therapy for SARS-CoV-2 viral pneumonia is increasingly being studied. Thus, it has been shown that mesenchymal stem cells isolated from the placenta, umbilical cord, umbilical cord blood, adipose tissue have a pronounced anti-inflammatory effect and reduce the so-called “cytokine storm”, which underlies the development of complications of COVID-19. The regenerative action of stem cells helps to repair tissues damaged by inflammation.

Today, more than 800 companies worldwide are developing cell based drugs for the treatment of COVID-19. For this purpose, in addition to mesenchymal stem cells, NK cells, dendritic cells, exosomes, placental components, amniotic fluid and other remedies are used.

To date, COVID-19 cell therapy is carried out in clinical trials in the United States, China, Colombia, France, and Jordan. About 30 such clinical trials have been reported and recovery has been reported repeatedly, even in elderly patients with severe COVID-19.

On April 30, 2020, a Memorandum was signed between the European Investment Bank and the Israeli Innovation Authority and a financing agreement between the European Investment Bank and Pluristem for the development of innovative cell technologies. The European Investment Bank is providing € 50 million to Pluristem to support its research and, in particular, its COVID-19 cell therapy methods.

On May 5, 2020, the Global Institute of Stem Cell Therapy and Research (GIOSTAR) announced approval from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for conducting 1-2 phases of a clinical study in which mesenchymal stem cells will be used in the treatment of COVID-19.

Mount Sinai Health System Academic Medical Center in New York was the first in the United States to use allogeneic stem cells to treat COVID-19 in March 2020 as a part of the Food and Drug Administration program, which allows patients in a life-threatening condition to receive experimental treatment. Stem cell therapy was given to 10 patients with moderate to severe acute respiratory distress syndrome, most of whom were on mechanical ventilation. Doctors noted encouraging results of cell therapy.

The American Academy of Stem Cell Physicians has also developed guidelines for the treatment of COVID-19. The proposed protocol has already been sent to the World Health Organization and implicates the introduction of umbilical cord blood mononuclear cells at a dose of 1 million / kg, as well as high doses of vitamin C and D, zinc, chloroquine and nebulizer with exosomes isolated from amniotic fluid.

Earlier, we reported on the FDA approval of the cell preparation ACT-20 from the biotechnology company Aspire Health Science. The FDA has also authorized a phase 2 clinical trial to examine the effectiveness of autologous adipose stem cells for the treatment of COVID-19.

The largest clinical trials involving the use of stem cells in the treatment of COVID-19 are being conducted by Mesoblast and Atherys, which are to treat 300 and 400 patients, respectively.

In Ukraine, a protocol for the treatment of pneumonia caused by SARS-CoV-2 was developed by the Institute of Cell Therapy. Already today, the Institute for Cell Therapy can provide about 300 doses of donor mesenchymal placental stem cells for the treatment of COVID-19, cryopreserved in accordance with international standards.

Source: Bioinformant.com and data from the Association of Cryobanks