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Application of mesenchymal stem cell and secretome in combating COVID19

Coronavirus disease 2019 (#COVID19) caused by novel Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome-#Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV2), is typically associated with severe respiratory distress and has claimed more than 525,000 lives already. The most fearful aspect is the unavailability of any concrete guidelines and treatment or protective strategies for reducing mortality or morbidity caused by this virus. Repurposing of drugs, antivirals, convalescent plasma and neutralizing antibodies are being considered for treatment but are still questionable in lieu of the conflicting data, study design and induction of secondary infections. Stem cell therapy has seen substantial advancements over the past decade for the treatment of various diseases including pulmonary disorders with severe complications similar to COVID-19. Recently, mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) have received particular attention as a potential therapeutic modality for SARS-CoV2 infection due to their ability to inhibit cytokine storm, a hallmark of severe COVID-19. MSCs secretion of trophic factors and extracellular vesicles mediated intercellular signaling are considered as principal contributing factors for tissue recovery. Although, recent preliminary studies have established the safety and efficacy of these cells without any severe secondary complications in the treatment of SARS-CoV2 infection, the rational use of MSCs on a large scale would still require additional relevant clinical investigations and validation of postulated mechanisms of these cells. This review presents the current clinical findings and update on the potential use of stem cell therapy and its secretome in combating the symptoms associated with COVID-19.

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