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Year : 2020  |  Volume : 3  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 322-328

Mesenchymal stem cell infusion as a promising therapeutic approach to treat coronavirus disease 2019 patients

Stem Cell Unit, Department of Anatomy, College of Medicine, King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Correspondence Address:
Nihal AlMuraikhi
Department of Anatomy, Stem Cell Unit, College of Medicine, King Saud University, Riyadh 11461
Saudi Arabia
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/JNSM.JNSM_46_20

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Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a highly contagious respiratory infection that emerges as a serious healthcare problem and becomes a global pandemic. The disease is caused by a novel virus called SARS-CoV-2. The initial site of infection is the pulmonary epithelial cells when the surface spike protein of the virus binds to their angiotensin I converting enzyme 2 receptor receptor triggering the immune system to release a huge number of inflammatory cytokines that may result in a cytokine storm. The clinical spectrum of the infections ranges from asymptomatic cases to severe viral pneumonia with multiple organ dysfunction that may lead to death. Currently, no specific antiviral drugs or vaccine has been confirmed to cure COVID-19. Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) present a potential therapeutic approach for treating COVID-19 patients through their regeneration of damaged tissues, anti-inflammatory, and immunomodulatory features. Preclinical data suggest that they can reduce pro-inflammatory cytokines, mitigate cytokine storm, and repair microenvironment of damaged tissues. MSCs are allogeneic stem cells that mainly get trapped in the lung when they are infused intravenously. Since the lung is the main affected organ in COVID-19 patients, this therapeutic approach seems to be advantageous. In this manuscript, we are describing this novel disease and its mechanism of infection, and stating the urgent need for treatment. Although many treatments are now being investigated for their effectiveness, this review has been dedicated to introducing all the supportive evidence in favor of utilizing the MSC therapy as a powerful therapeutic approach to improve the immunological response of COVID-19 patients.

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