Recently, the acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) has attracted much attention, especially due to pneumonia caused by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19 / SARS-CoV-2) that has spread throughout the world. Currently, the affected patients and the death toll are still increasing. COVID-19 not only mutates rapidly, but also invades aggressively and can cause pneumonia and systemic viral infections in affected patients. Most of the severe cases have serious lung injury which can lead to ARDS.
For COVID-19 patients that develop ARDS, the mortality rate can be as high as 52.4%. ARDS is one of the leading causes for COVID-19-related mortality. As the pandemic continues amidst the lack of available treatment and vaccine, and the lengthy time required to develop such, the number of critically ill patients will no doubt rise rapidly. COVID-19 has proven to be a global health threat within a short time period. At a critical moment like this, mesenchymal stem cell (MSC) treatment has become a new option to fight diseases.
BIONET Corp. is a Taiwan-based international company that engaged in cell therapy and regenerative medicine for over 20 years. BIONET Corp. has not only founded the Mesenchymal Stem Cell Bank, but also dedicated research efforts to study immunomodulation and respiratory diseases. In 2015, a 4-year human clinical trial was initiated to study the utilization of umbilical cord mesenchymal stem cells (UCMSC) to treat severe lung injury and sepsis caused by influenza, pneumonia, and ARDS. It was confirmed that MSC can reduce lung injury and inflammation, and improve infiltration caused by pulmonary fibrosis. The study and its findings were recently published in the international critical care journal “Critical Care Medicine”, and has attracted great attention from oversea, medical units, such as from Malaysia, Japan, Vietnam, Panama and other countries, seeking collaboration opportunities with BIONET Corp. to provide MSC to assist in the treatment of lung injury.
The recent COVID-19 pandemic is a major global health threat. Based on the knowledge and insights from past experiences, BIONET Corp’s Stem Cells Bank is able to have sufficient storage units to treat 1.3million patients and may be expected to be used for global medical rescue when there is a lack of effective medications and/ or vaccines to save lives in timely manner. Through combining the knowledge and resources of medical communities, government and industry, it will surely be a great power for the global fight against new viruses and influenza in the future.
CritCare Med. 2020 Mar 13. doi: 10.1097/CCM.0000000000004285.