The previously unknown coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 has infected about 30 million people worldwide, of whom nearly 1 million have died. In Ukraine, coronavirus COVID-19 was detected in more than 150,000 people, of whom about 70,000 recovered and over 3,000 died. Medicine still does not know an effective pathogenetic treatment for COVID-19, nor has an effective vaccine been registered.
Among the promising treatments for COVID-19 is cell therapy. The official international registry of clinical trials has registered more than 70 trails involving the use of human cells in the treatment of respiratory distress syndrome caused by SARS-CoV-2.
In cell therapy COVID-19 are studied:
- Donor (allogeneic) cells;
- Autologous (own) cells.
Areas of cell therapy of coronavirus pneumonia include:
- Introduction of umbilical cord mesenchymal stem cells;
- Introduction of placenta mesenchymal stem cells;
- Introduction of dental pulp mesenchymal stem cells;
- Introduction of bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells;
- Introduction of mesenchymal stem cells of;
- Introduction of peripheral blood mesenchymal stem cells;
- Introduction of olfactory bulbs mesenchymal stem cells;
- Introduction of natural killer cells;
- Introduction of exosomes.
Clinical trials of COVID-19 cell therapy have been registered in the United Kingdom, the United States of America, China, Ukraine, France, Italy, Canada, Australia, Germany, , Japan, Vietnam, Indonesia, Iran, Turkey, Spain, Pakistan, Jordan, the Russian Federation, Belarus, the United Arab Emirates, Pakistan, Brazil.
Among the methods of cell therapy COVID-19 the most widely used are mesenchymal stem cells of perinatal tissues (umbilical cord, placenta). These cells have a pronounced anti-inflammatory and regenerative (restorative) effect, and, importantly, the SARS-CoV-2 virus cannot penetrate them because the mesenchymal stem cells of the umbilical cord and placenta do not contain the angiotensin-converting enzyme that is a receptor for the coronavirus.
Preliminary results of clinical studies are quite optimistic, and cases of almost sensational recovery of critical patients after the introduction of mesenchymal stem cells of the umbilical cord are described.
Recently, in the treatment of coronavirus pneumonia, not only donor cell material is used, but also own cells, in particular, isolated from peripheral blood and adipose tissue. Peripheral blood non-hematopoietic cells are used in the treatment of COVID-19 by a medical center in Abu Dhabi (United Arab Emirates). Their alternative may be non-hematopoietic umbilical cord blood stem cells, but only patients whose parents preserved their umbilical cord blood at birth have this option.
In Ukraine, the Institute of Cell Therapy has also developed a method of treating coronavirus pneumonia using umbilical cord and placental stem cells, which is being tested in a clinical trial approved by the Ministry of Health of Ukraine. The xpectant parents in Ukraine have the opportunity to store the stem cells of their newborn, collected during childbirth, in the first cryobank of Ukraine – the Institute of Cell Therapy (since 2003, ISO accredited since 2014).