Some stem cells release molecules that reduce viral replication and have the ability to reset the innate and adaptive immune systems from an inflammatory state to a repair state. Molecules released from the stem cells provide therapeutic benefits by fighting viral infections and the “cytokine storm” observed in COVID-19. Stem cells release molecules act in two ways, first by inhibiting the viral replication and entry into the host cell and second, by resolving the inflammatory damage caused by the virus to the host cells. Many studies have reported the safety and efficacy of stem cell released molecules and thus can act as an important means for therapeutic development in COVID-19. It would be especially important for treating late-stage inflammation and tissue damage in the aged population after viral clearance.
Stem cells release antimicrobial peptides (AMPS) that have been found to fight against viral infections. The study found that ADSC exosomes resolve inflammation during “cytokine storm” due to SARS-CoV-2 infection. Another study discovered that stem cells express antiviral interferon-stimulated genes (ISGs) that help to fight viral infection. The secretome from ADSCs contains antioxidants, chaperones, and heat shock proteins that prevent SARS-CoV-2 induced DNA and protein damage. Moreover, ADSCs and their release molecules have been found to reduce pulmonary fibrosis in a number of animal models. Furthermore, ADSCs injections have been found to be safe and can be used to improve heart function in COVID-19 patients by reducing inflammation and fibrosis. Additionally, Mesenchymal stem cells have been shown to reduce autoantibody levels in serum of COVID-19 patients.
Overall, ADSCs release a rich variety of antioxidants types that increase the antioxidant cascade that can help suppress the viral infection. Since diet affects stem cell function, stem cell released molecules along with plant-based diet can be used as a therapeutic approach to better prevent and alleviate the effects of COVID-19 infection.
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Ref Link: NIH