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Table 1 Stem cells for COVID-19 therapy

From: When stem cells meet COVID-19: recent advances, challenges and future perspectives

Stem cell sources Study design Population Key findings References
BMSCs (allogeneic) Pilot study 7 COVID-19 Patients
(1 Critically severe, 4 severe, 2 common type)
The peripheral lymphocytes were increased, the C-reactive protein decreased, and the overactivated cytokine-secreting immune cells CXCR3+CD4+ T cells, CXCR3+CD8+ T cells, and CXCR3+ NK cells disappeared in 3–6 days Leng et al. [57]
hUC-MSCs (allogeneic) Case report 65-year-old COVID-19 patient with severe pneumonia,respiratory failure and multiorgan failure Vital signs stabilized, not dependent on ventilator. After the infusion patient was negative for the virus on throat swabs after 2 days Alturi et al. [58]
hUC-MSCs (allogeneic) Phase I clinical trial 18 COVID-19 moderate and severe ill The PaO2/FiO2 ratio improved; Lung lesions of patients were well controlled within 6 days, and completely disappeared within 2 weeks Wang et al. [59]
hUC-MSCs (allogeneic) Case report 12 COVID-19 critically ill Clinical symptoms, including weakness and fatigue, shortness of breath, and low oxygen saturation were improved Shu et al. [60]
hUC-MSCs (allogeneic) Case report 66-year old female Absolute lymphocyte count was improved after twice administration of convalescent plasma and no infusion or allergic reactions were seen after hUC-MSC administration Peng et al. [61]
hUC-MSCs (allogeneic) Case report 65-year-old critically-ill woman The T-cell ounts normalized and initial therapy of α-thymosin when combined with hUCMSCs greatly reduced the inflammation Liang et al. [62]
human umbilical cord Wharton's jelly-derived MSCs (hWJCs) (allogeneic) Case report Critically ill 54-year old male patient having cough, fever and tightness of chest from 4 days After treatment, the percentage and counts of lymphocyte subsets (CD3+, CD4+, and CD8+ T cell) were increased, and the level of IL-6, TNF-α, and C-reactive protein is significantly decreased after hWJC treatment Zhang et al. [63]
AT-MSCs (allogeneic) Case report 13 severe COVID-19 pneumonia patients Administration of AT-MSCs reduced the levels of inflammatory markers C-reactive protein, IL-6, ferritin, LDH and D-dimer, and increased the lymphocyte counts Sanchez-Guijo et al. [64]
MenSCs (allogeneic) Case report 2 confirmed cases of COVID-19 MenSC transplantation increased the number of CD4+ lymphocytes and decreased the expression of inflammatory markers. After transplant treatment, both the SAO2 and PO2 improved, and chest CTs showed the adsorption of bilateral pulmonary exudates Tang et al. [66]
Immune-and-matrix- regulatory cells (IMRCs) (Allogeneic) Phase 1 clinical trial 27 COVID-19 patients who demonstrated pulmonary fibrosis pathology The pulmonary fibrotic lesions were significantly reduced, and the haematological and clinical chemical parameters remained within the normal range; No tumour markers were detected in the serum Wu et al. [67]
Cardiosphere-derived cells (CDCs) (allogeneic) Case series 6 critically ill COVID-19 patients (age range of 19–75 years) All patients survived with 4 discharged and 1 still on respiratory support compared to 18% mortality in control group. Results were well correlated with diminished levels of ferritin and absolute lymphocyte counts, still suggesting the role of cell-based therapies in modifying the immune responses Singh et al. [69]
Exosomes derived from BMMSCs (allogeneic) Prospective nonblinded nonrandomized primary safety trial 24 COVID-19 Patients (18–85 years) Significant reduction in absolute neutrophil count (p-value < 0.001) with alleviated levels of acute phase reactants, C-reactive protein, downregulating cytokine storm and restoring immunity again implying a key action on immune functions Sengupta et al. [72]
  1. BMSCs, bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells; hUC-MSCs, human umbilical cord derived MSCs; hWJCs, human umbilical cord Wharton’s jelly derived MSCs; AT-MSCs, adipose tissue derived MSCs; MenSCs, menstrual blood derived MSCs; IMRCs, immune-and-matrix-regulatory cells; CDCs, allogeneic cardiosphere-derived cells