#Coronavirusoutbreak has been the most sought-after twitter hashtag for quite some time and with positive coronavirus cases blooming upright in the heart of the Indian capital, what could be a better silver lining for regenerative medicine and coronavirus therapeutics than the recent case of a 62-year-old Chinese woman showing recovery from coronavirus infection with stem cell therapy!
For all those people who are yet to dive into this sensational epidemic outbreak that has startled the whole world, coronavirus is a type of flu-causing virus with a strain name of COVID-19.
This particular strain originated in the Wuhan district of China and what seemed like an endemic, soon started spreading to different parts of the world, with its latest case in Delhi, India. Prior to this scenario, coronavirus outbreaks were reported in 2003 (China) and 2012 (Middle East) causing SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) and MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome), respectively.
According to the recent COVID-19 WHO Situation Report 43, 90,870 cases have been diagnosed globally till now, with 2662 reported deaths. The virus, although zoonotic, is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person by close contact or through respiratory droplets. Reported illnesses due to COVID-19infections have ranged from mild symptoms, like cough and fever after 2-14 days of exposure, to severe illness and death upon serious exposure and long incubation time for the coronavirus in the body. The main effect of coronavirus is supposedly on the immune system which gets weakened and paves the way for other disorders to affect the body severely.
WHO strategies to prevent COVID-19
Since the outbreak, WHO has continuously put out preventive measures and strategies to protect individuals from being affected by COVID-19. Some of the common strategies discussed are:
- Prevention of human-to-human close contacts while outdoors.
- Early identification and diagnosis can optimize patient care.
- Awareness regarding transmission, infection, and treatment options.
- Development of vaccines and medical awareness among health workers.
- Minimization of socio-economic impact through industrial partnerships.
How can Stem Cells work for Coronavirus?
Stem cells for coronavirus? Why not? The recent case of an elderly Chinese woman in Kunming, China, suffering from coronavirus disease was pushed towards recovery by the applications of stem cells. After two stem cell treatments, the lady was much better performing health-wise and showed massive improvements, leading to a COVID-19 negative test report. Similar study is also being undertaken in the Hunan district and similar effects have been observed in this case too.
This brings researchers to question how stem cells can be effective for coronavirus? Coronavirus is alike the flu virus and the lung and respiratory tract inflammation during flu can be repaired by the immunomodulatory effects of stem cells. Stem cells have also been shown to mediate antibacterial and antiviral effects owing to the activation of the body immune system. But a serious concern to be worried about is the recurrence of coronavirus disease in these stem cell-treated patients in case of virus dormancy inside the body.
Patients with chronic diseases, with a lack of treatment options, are gradually turning towards stem cells with a hope of cure and with this recent coronavirus treatment update, stem cells have attained yet another badge of hope. This development is a positive push for health organizations and institutions to encourage more stem cell therapies to the bedside in the coming years. Fingers crossed!