A proposed mechanism of severe Corona virus Disease-2019 (COVID-19) is a deregulated innate immune response to an infection with SARS-CoV-2 resulting in cytokine release syndrome (CRS). Mesencymal stem cells (MSC) have been shown to have immunomodulatory effects and may attenuate the CRS. We present 11 cases of severe COVID-19 pneumonia treated with umbilical cord-derived, non-HLA matched MSC administered as four separate intravenous doses, 5×105 cells/kg. Clinical symptoms, measurements of inflammatory mediators and cytokines (IL6, IL10, IFN-γ, TNF-α), and radiological results were recorded for each patient. Although there were large variations in baseline cytokine pattern elevation, all cytokine levels decreased in all patients after the 4 infusions of UC-MSC, albeit in different magnitudes. Seven patients eventually improved in terms of need for supplemental oxygen and/or mechanical ventilation, clinical symptoms, resolution of pneumonia on imaging, and were discharged. Three patients expired, 1 of whom expired before completing the full course of therapy. This limited series of patients showed that UC-MSC therapy down regulates the cytokine storm and may improve clinical status in patients hospitalized with severe COVID-19 pneumonia without any infusion related reaction.
De Vera, M. J., Buensalido, M. J., Francisco, J. J., Bello, J. A., Olavere, A., Calavera, A., Ramos, J., Ona, N., Escalambre, E., Delos Santos, M., Samuel Bernal, & Kalodimou, V. E. (2021). Use of umbilical cord Mesencymal stem cells in the treatment of severe COVID-19 pneumonia. Journal of Embryology & Stem Cell Research, 5(1). https://doi.org/10.23880/jes-16000146