What is the most trending mortality-friendly virus? The unanimous answer to this question is COVID-19. With over 42000 global deaths, its high time to contain and eradicate this epidemic. Coronavirus or COVID-19 spreads by fluid droplets from the mouth and nose and can be picked up by a second person upon coming in contact with the infected liquid droplets.
This contact can be upon shaking hands or touching a surface where the liquid droplets are present as a result of sneezing or coughing. Recently, reports from Kunming district, China, have highlighted the successful effects of stem cells in the recovery of coronavirus infected patients and therefore it is important to understand how stem cells can be a strong force against coronavirus infection. Are these just medical miracles or is there a logical standpoint?
How coronavirus affects the body?
When coronavirus enters the body, it targets lungs and respiratory cells. The next step starts with damaging these respiratory cells which make up the first line of immune protection for our body. As a result, the filter system switches off and debris starts filling up in the lungs, leading to a shortage of breath and cough. Once these mild symptoms kick in, the body gears up to protect itself by activating the immune system by developing a fever, coughing, and a running nose. Thus, to understand it briefly, coronavirus infection affects the immune system with time and may also harm body cells in the process in case of overriding the safety limit. With the immune system being affected, other infections and diseases can easily catch up and lead to the deterioration of one’s health condition.
Is it similar to flu?
Coronavirus is not structurally similar to the flu virus. In fact, coronavirus COVID-19 is even different from other coronavirus strains like SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV. But if we have to look at the similarities, symptoms are the most important domain. Symptoms like cough, fever, breath shortage, lung inflammation, etc. are the symptoms of flu as well as coronavirus disease. Therefore, although designing of COVID-19 targeted drugs will take different biomolecules into consideration, the mechanism and effects of body healing will be similar, i.e. reversing the immune-compromised health condition.
How can stem cells help?
Clinical trials have already emerged on the potential use of stem cells in the treatment of COVD-19 infected patients. Moreover, successful cases have also been reported in some districts of China for the recovery of coronavirus patients upon administration of stem cells. The scientific community has dived deep into utilizing stem cells for treatment of COVD-19. But why? How can stem cells help?
Stem cells can differentiate into a variety of cell lineages and are thus regarded as a fundamental alternative to conventional treatment, in the form of regenerative therapies.
The role of stem cells can be pointed out as:
- Reduce inflammatory effects.
- Enhance immune regulatory functions.
- Regeneration and healing of damaged tissues.
- Differentiate into different cell-types.
Prior research studies have shown anti-inflammatory effects of stem cells and their ability to reduce virus-induced lung injury. These effects can be very well hypothesized in cases of COVID-19. Stem cells can reduce the lung and respiratory tract damage caused by COVD-19 infections by fast rejuvenation and tissue repair effects, and can also strengthen the immune system as a protective shield against any secondary infection during the period of COVID-19 incubation inside one’s body.
Moreover, along with the fast-paced vaccine development research against COVID-19, stem cells are a force to reckon with. Owing to the immune-regulatory and immune-modulatory role of stem cells, people can be administered stem cells before being given COVID-19 vaccines, so that the body can fight back other infections and be less susceptible to the infection symptoms. This strategy will help the body cope up and be prepared to fight any recurrence of COVD-19.