Stem cells in the treatment of COVID-19

For a year now, the whole world has been battling the pandemic of the previously unknown acute respiratory disease COVID-19. Today, almost 100,000,000 people in the world are infected with the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, of which more than 50,000,000 have recovered and more than 2,000,000 have died.

Glucocorticoids, anticoagulants, antibiotics, and anticytokine drugs are used in international protocols for the treatment of severe forms of COVID-19. At the beginning of the COVID-19 epidemic in China, several cases of successful recovery of critical patients with coronavirus pneumonia after umbilical cord mesenchymal stem cells application were published. The experience of Chinese doctors was immediately adopted by specialists from other countries, modifying both the methods of cell therapy of COVID-19 and trying to use stem cells isolated from other sources too (umbilical cord blood, placenta, bone marrow, peripheral blood, adipose tissue, etc.) .

At the beginning of 2021, 83 clinical trials on the treatment of COVID-19 and its complications using stem cells were registered in the international registry of clinical trials ( In the treatment of COVID-19 are mainly used mesenchymal stem cells, rarer hematopoietic. The mechanism of therapeutic action of COVID-19 mesenchymal stem cells is based on their pronounced anti-inflammatory and restorative effect, while hepomoetic stem cells restore the immune system.

Clinical trials of COVID-19 cell therapy have been registered in the United Kingdom, the United States, China, Ukraine, France, Italy, Canada, Australia, Germany, Australia, Japan, Vietnam, Indonesia, Iran, Turkey, Spain, Pakistan, Jordan, and the Russian Federation. Belarus, the United Arab Emirates, Pakistan, Brazil.

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 this is only available to patients whose parents have preserved their umbilical cord blood at birth.

In Ukraine, the Institute of Cell Therapy, a co-founder and a full member of the Association of Cryobanks, has developed a method of treating coronavirus pneumonia using placental mesenchymal stem cells. In March 2020, the Institute of Cell Therapy in Ukraine in conjunction with Kiev Municipal Clinical Hospital №4 launched a clinical trial “Treatment of coronavirus COVID-19 pneumonia (SARS-CoV-2) with cryopreserved allogeneic multipotent mesenchymal stem cells of the placenta” under the auspices of the Coordination Centre of Transplantation of Organs, Tissues and Cells of the Ministry of Health of Ukraine. The Institute of Cell Therapy has also developed a program of postCOVID rehabilitation of patients and treatment of chronic COVID, a pathological syndrome observed in people who have recovered from COVID-19.

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