Many scientists around the world are working to find antiviral drugs for COVID-19, and a study of Tel Aviv University showed that exosome can also be helpful to fight against this pandemic.
Starting from the end of 2019, the world’s population is facing the spread of the novel coronavirus, also called SARS-CoV-2. At present, there is no recommended specific antiviral treatment for the COVID-19 pandemic, and the treatment strategy to deal with infection is only supportive.
A report in Cells magazine believes that the mesenchymal stem cell secretion group can display a wide range of pharmacological effects, including anti-inflammatory, immunomodulatory, regenerative, pro-angiogenic and anti-fibrotic properties, which may provide a new treatment method.
Tel Aviv University has developed a novel and revolutionary method to treat COVID-19 using cannabidiol (CBD) loaded exosomes (CLX). The team led by Professor Daniel Offen, a leading researcher in the field of neuroscience and exosome technology at Tel Aviv University, will develop products based on cell therapy based on his previous work in this field.
Recently, in vivo and in vitro studies have shown that exosomes derived from mesenchymal stem cells (MSC) can promote the regeneration of damaged tissue and improve the immune response process. Exosomes can be packaged with anti-inflammatory drugs against inflamed organs. Professor Offen and his team have successfully loaded various molecules in exosomes. They also successfully treated various tissue damages in animal models, while significantly reducing inflammation and pathological damage.
To date, there have been hundreds of clinical studies using exosomes worldwide, indicating their therapeutic potential in different applications. Animal studies have also shown that CBD can effectively reduce lung inflammation. Based on these findings, CLX therapy is believed to have the potential to treat COVID-19 by combining CBD with exosomes to produce a therapeutic synergy.
So far, there is no specific antiviral treatment for SARS-CoV-2 infected patients. Although symptomatic and supportive care is strongly recommended for patients with severe infections, even with mechanical ventilation or extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO), patients with elder age and comorbidities (such as diabetes and heart disease) still have a high risk of adverse consequences. This pilot clinical trial of Tel Aviv University will explore the safety and effectiveness of aerosol inhalation of heterologous adipose-derived mesenchymal stem cell-derived exosomes (MSCs-Exo).
Experimental studies have shown that mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) or their exosomes (MSCs-Exo) significantly reduce lung inflammation and pathological damage caused by different types of lung injury. Although human bone marrow MSCs have been safely administered to patients with acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) and septic shock (Phase I / II trials), delivery of MSCs-Exo appears to be safer than live MSCs. Because intravenous administration of MSCs may result in the aggregation or clumping of injured microcirculation, and has the risk of mutagenicity and carcinogenicity, but treatment with nebulized MSCs-Exo does not have this problem. Compared with MSC, another advantage of MSCs-Exo is that they can be stored for several weeks / months, so that they can be safely transported and do not have to be used immediately.
Scientists have predicted that COVID-19 may be repeated outbreaks like the flu. Many people do not take “flu” seriously. In fact, the flu causes about 3 to 5 million serious cases each year, of which about 250,000 to 500,000 patients die. One of the most well-known outbreaks was the “Spanish flu”: it once infected 500 million people worldwide and killed 50 to 100 million people.
Although all the studies on COVID-19 have not been completely successful, we still have to admit that our treatment of this coronavirus pneumonia epidemic has greatly improved our approach over SARS. For COVID-19, there have are many researches underway, such as this exosome therapeutics, and new technologies and the hard work of scientists will make cure possible.