Science

‘Stem cells derived from umbilical cord helps in recovery of severe Covid patients faster’

Prashasti Awasthi Mumbai | Updated on January 06, 2021

The study, published in the journal STEM CELLS found that after a month, 100% of patients (<85 of age) who received the UC-MSC infusions survived vs 42% in the control group

A team of researchers found in a randomised controlled trial that umbilical cord-derived mesenchymal stem cell (UC-MSC) infusions safely reduce the risk of death and quicken time to recovery for the most severe Covid-19 patients.

The study, published in the journal STEM CELLS, was carried out by Camilo Ricordi, Director of the Diabetes Research Institute (DRI) and Cell Transplant Center at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, and his team of international collaborators.

The study analyzed 24 patients hospitalised at the University of Miami Tower or Jackson Memorial Hospital with Covid-19. Each patient received two infusions of either mesenchymal stem cells or a placebo, given days apart.

Lead author Ricordi said: “It was a double-blind study. Neither the doctors nor patients knew who received the treatment and who got the placebo.”

At one month, 100 per cent of patients (<85 of age) who received the UC-MSC infusions survived as compared with 42 per cent in the control group. Researchers found the treatment was safe, with no infusion-related serious adverse events.

Ricordi’s team also reports recovery time was faster among those in the treatment arm. More than half of the patients treated with the UC-MSC infusions recovered and were discharged within two weeks. More than 80 per cent of the treatment group recovered by day 30 as compared with less than 37 per cent in the control group.

“It’s like smart bomb technology in the lungs to restore normal immune response and reverse life-threatening complications,” said Ricordi.

Just one umbilical cord, donated from a cesarean section, can yield up to 10,000 doses of the Covid-19 treatment.

“Our results confirm the powerful anti-inflammatory, the immunomodulatory effect of UC-MSCs. These cells have clearly inhibited the ‘cytokine storm’, a hallmark of severe Covid-19,” said Giacomo Lanzoni, PhD, another author of the paper.

Published on January 06, 2021

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