For 8 months now, the world has been battling a pandemic of the previously unknown disease COVID-19, still not having any effective drugs or vaccines. The SARS-CoV-2 virus has infected more than 23 million people worldwide, 15 million of whom have recovered and 809,000 have died. In Ukraine, COVID-19 was diagnosed in more than 107,000 people, of whom more than 50,000 recovered and nearly 3,000 died.
Among the promising methods of treatment of coronavirus pneumonia the mesenchymal stem cells isolated from the umbilical cord, placenta, umbilical cord blood are being actively studied. In various countries around the world, cell therapy for coronavirus pneumonia has already been tested in dozens of clinical trials. The results of some of them are quite optimistic, as scientists regularly report almost sensational cases of recovery of critical patients with COVID-19, who were injected with stem cells. In particular, one such case was recently described in California (USA).
A patient with classic manifestations of COVID-19 was hospitalized in the intensive care unit in April 2020. The patient also had comorbidities. The patient’s condition on artificial ventilation deteriorated, he developed renal and hepatic failure, which required dialysis. The patient also developed sepsis and stroke, and stayed in a coma for almost 7 weeks. After administration of the umbilical cord mesenchymal stem cells drug, the patient’s manifestations of multiple organ failure disappeared, the patient came out of a coma, the functions of the nervous and respiratory systems, liver and kidneys restored. The patient was also disconnected from the ventilator and dialysis. The patient began to eat, drink, talk, motor functions also began to restore. Inflammation rates returned to normal. The patient was recently discharged from the intensive care unit and is undergoing rehabilitation for a stroke. Treatment was performed according to FDA approval.
The therapeutic effect of mesenchymal stem cells in COVID-19 is due to their pronounced anti-inflammatory effect, namely the ability to reduce the production of so-called inflammatory mediators (cytokines), which are triggered in the body by the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
In Ukraine, the Institute of Cell Therapy has also developed a method of coronavirus pneumonia treatment based on the use of mesenchymal stem cells from the umbilical cord and placenta. More than 10 patients with COVID-19 have already been successfully treated with donor mesenchymal stem cells, cryopreserved by the Institute of Cell Therapy Cryobank within the framework of a clinical trial under the auspices of the Coordination Center for Organ, Tissue and Cell Transplantation of the Ministry of Health of Ukraine. And every expecting family has the opportunity to preserve perinatal tissues (umbilical cord, placenta, umbilical cord blood) according to international standards in the Ukraine’s first Cryobank of the Institute of Cell Therapy. In the future, if necessary, stored stem cell preparations can be used in the treatment of various diseases and rehabilitation.