In a groundbreaking new study, researchers have managed to successfully treat a critically ill COVID-19 patient using umbilical cord stem cells. If the treatment can be replicated, it has the potential to save many thousands of lives.
The study followed the progress of a 65-year-old women who had contracted COVID-19. The woman was critically ill and had been struggling to survive. A medical team gave the patient an intravenous transfusion of umbilical cord stem cells. Her condition dramatically improved within 4 days.
Although this is a single case, it could inspire similar clinical practices when treating clinically ill COVID-19 patients.
Several other teams of researchers are also looking at the potential of umbilical cord blood stem cells for treating COVID-19. One of those teams is from Shanghai University and Peking Union Medical College (PUMC), Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences.
They recently concluded a clinical trial involving 7 test subjects who have COVID-19. All of the patients were receiving intravenous transfusions of Mesenchymal Stem Cells (MSCs) which are found in cord blood.
They found that all of the patients experienced reduced symptoms within two days of receiving the transfusion, without suffering from any adverse effects. Three of the test subjects were released from hospital within 10 days of receiving their treatment.
This trial is continuing and has treated an additional 30 patients in recent weeks. All of the patients treated so far have seen improvements in their condition.
A separate research team is working from the Chinese PLS hospital to test the efficacy and safety of MSCs for treating COVID-19. The group has helped many patients in Wuhan hospitals and institutions receive MSC transfusions in recent weeks.
How Do Cord Blood Stem Cells Treat COVID-19?
Researchers have found that COVID-19 causes a significant amount of inflammation in the body. This causes severe infection, which damages to the lungs and leads to breathing impairments.
Researchers believe that the MSCs found in cord blood help by reducing the amount of inflammation in the body and regulating immune system response. Stem cells may also improve how rapidly the body can heal the damage to the lungs which is caused by COVID-19.