Scientists from the UNESCO International Society on Aging and Disease (ISOAD) have found that mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) effectively modulate multiple mechanisms in the human body and restore immune homeostasis in COVID-19 patients.
Despite some advances in the treatment of the COVID-19 virus, there is no specific cure for patients with the infection. This is especially true for patients admitted to the intensive care unit and in need of mechanical ventilation.
It is known that mesenchymal stem cells have unique potent immunomodulatory properties. For this reason, they are considered prime candidates for cell therapy for COVID-19.
In February 2020, an international team showed that administering MSCs to seven patients with COVID19 pneumonia reduced symptoms and accelerated recovery times compared to three patients receiving a placebo.
Scientists have expanded the scope of their research by demonstrating that mesenchymal stem cells effectively modulate multiple mechanisms and can restore immune homeostasis in COVID-19 patients.
In their new work, the results of which were published October 26, 2021, in Cell Research, the team completed a randomized, single-blind, placebo-controlled Phase II study of an MSC infusion.
The data obtained demonstrated the significant effectiveness of mesenchymal stem cells in treating COVID-19: the infusion of MSCs in the shortest possible time significantly improved the prognosis of severe and critical patients and alleviated symptoms.
Follow-up chest computed tomography showed significant improvements in severe or critical patients in the mesenchymal stem cell treatment group compared to the placebo group. Notably, the therapy also reduced the length of hospital stay (11 days versus 15 days).
Treatment with mesenchymal stem cells reduced levels of disease-specific markers such as C-reactive protein and pro-inflammatory factors and cytokines. MSC infusion increased the duration of circulation of antibodies to COVID-19 in the body, reduced the number of neutrophilic extracellular traps (NET), which play a vital role in the development of thrombotic complications leading to acute respiratory failure in coronavirus.
In general, patients tolerated the mesenchymal stem cell treatment favorably and were discharged from the hospital without any adverse reactions. The mortality rate in this group was zero, and in the placebo group, it was 6.9%.
Consistent with previous clinical studies, the results indicate that MSCs are a safe therapeutic approach and effectively treat COVID-19.