MESENCHYMAL STEM CELLS FOR THE PREVENTION OF COVID-19

Like almost any flu illness, the patients most susceptible to developing COVID-19 are people over 60 years of age with a history of conditions such as hypertension, diabetes, cancer, or immunocompromised patients. However, the way in which the body defends itself against it depends a lot on the general state of health in which it is found.

One of the mechanisms by which the virus damages the lungs of patients who contract it is its ability to stimulate pro-inflammatory molecules such as IL-2, IL-6, IL-7, GSCF, IP10, MCP1, MIP1A or TNFα . The so-called “cytokine storm” leads to chronic inflammation and pulmonary edema, which causes respiratory failure and if this worsens, it can lead to death.

To date, there is no effective treatment to eradicate COVID-19. Patients have been treated with glucocorticoids and anti-inflammatories, without much success. In China, up to 150 million mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) distributed in three doses have been approved for use in some severe cases of COVID-19. The application of mesenchymal stem cells (MSC) resulted in the improvement of all transplanted patients. Although more studies are required, these results indicate that CTM treatment may be one of the most effective treatments to combat COVID-19.

Human stem cells are cells with an immunomodulatory capacity already recognized in different scientific reports around the world. Its effectiveness has been demonstrated especially in inflammatory diseases or the immune system. Such is the well-known case of its use against graft versus host disease (GvHD), in which mesenchymal stem cells (MSC) are administered to prevent and reduce the inflammatory action produced by organ transplantation.

Through their already known functions, they decrease the cascade of pro-inflammatory molecules and stimulate the immune system itself to produce anti-inflammatory cells and molecules, this reduces harmful inflammation. In addition, they help the body to recover naturally, since they secrete growth and angiogenic factors that allow the regeneration of damaged tissue.

Although the sector of the population vulnerable to COVID-19 has already been described, just like any other disease, one of the ways in which a population copes is herd immunity. If healthy patients who contract the disease have a greater ability to stop it, the risk of transmission is lower. This is because the body will be able to counteract the infection more effectively and quickly. On the other hand, they will be able to leave the health system free to focus on the people who really need it.

It is known that treatment with mesenchymal stem cells (MSC), having an immunomodulatory effect and having the ability to modify the cellular environment, helps prepare the body for the stress that is continually received from the environment, as well as to cope with some infection. Therefore, this treatment is recommended as a form of prevention, both for vulnerable patients and for the general population.

However, it is necessary to clarify that not just any cell works. In patients treated in China, mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) were cultured under good manufacturing practices (GMP) criteria and with rigorous quality control. It is important that the regenerative treatment comes from a Stem Cell Bank that can verify cell purity, identity and viability to ensure the success of the treatment.

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