Reducing mortality and morbidity in patients with severe COVID-19 disease by advancing ongoing trials of Mesenchymal Stromal (stem) Cell (MSC) therapy - achieving global consensus and visibility for cellular host-directed therapies

Alimuddin Zumla, Fu-Sheng Wang, Giuseppe Ippolito, Nicola Petrosillo, Chiara Agrati, Esam I Azhar, Sherif A El-Kafrawy, Mohamed Osman, Laurence Zitvogel, Franco Locatelli, Ellen Gorman, Cecilia O'Kane, Danny Mcauley, Markus Maeurer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)
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Abstract

As of May 11th 2020, the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, caused by the novel, the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) has caused 274,361 deaths out of 3,917,366 (7% case fatality rate). As with the two other novel coronavirus zoonotic diseases of humans, SARS and MERS, no specific treatments for reducing mortality or morbidity are yet available. Deaths from COVID-19 will continue to rise globally until effective and appropriate treatments and vaccines are found. With no specific treatments being available for treating COVID-19 patients, the global medical, scientific, pharma and funding communities have rapidly initiated over 500 COVID-19 clinical on a range of antiviral drug regimens, biologics, repurposed drugs in various combinations. We focus this editorial specifically on the background to, and the rationale for, the use and evaluation of mesenchymal stromal (Stem) cells (MSCs) in treatment trials of patients with severe COVID-19 disease. This is an area which has been eclipsed by the current emphasis the huge number of trials evaluating new anti-viral drugs, repurposed drugs and combinations thereof. MSCs should also be trialed for treatment of severe cases of MERS where mortality rates are upto 34% and MERS-CoV remains a WHO priority Blueprint pathogen. It's about time funding agencies now invest more into development MSCs per se and other host-directed therapies in combination with other therapeutic interventions. MSC therapy could turn out to be an important contribution to bringing an end to the high COVID-19 and MERS death rates.

Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational journal of infectious diseases : IJID : official publication of the International Society for Infectious Diseases
Early online date17 May 2020
DOIs
Publication statusEarly online date - 17 May 2020

Bibliographical note

© 2020 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier Ltd on behalf of International Society for Infectious Diseases.

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