Opinion Review
Copyright ©The Author(s) 2020. Published by Baishideng Publishing Group Inc. All rights reserved.
World J Stem Cells. Aug 26, 2020; 12(8): 721-730
Published online Aug 26, 2020. doi: 10.4252/wjsc.v12.i8.721
Off-the-shelf mesenchymal stem cells from human umbilical cord tissue can significantly improve symptoms in COVID-19 patients: An analysis of evidential relations
Phuc Van Pham, Ngoc Bich Vu
Phuc Van Pham, Ngoc Bich Vu, Stem Cell Institute, University of Science, Ho Chi Minh 08000, Viet Nam
Phuc Van Pham, Ngoc Bich Vu, Vietnam National University, Ho Chi Minh 08000, Viet Nam
Author contributions: Pham PV and Vu NB equally contributed to this work.
Conflict-of-interest statement: The author(s) declare that they have no competing interests.
Open-Access: This article is an open-access article that was selected by an in-house editor and fully peer-reviewed by external reviewers. It is distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited and the use is non-commercial. See: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/
Corresponding author: Phuc Van Pham, PhD, Associate Professor, Director, Lecturer, Senior Scientist, Stem Cell Institute, University of Science, No. 227, Nguyen Van Cu, No. 5, District, Ho Chi Minh 08000, Viet Nam. pvphuc@hcmuns.edu.vn
Received: May 6, 2020
Peer-review started: May 6, 2020
First decision: May 15, 2020
Revised: May 21, 2020
Accepted: August 1, 2020
Article in press: August 1, 2020
Published online: August 26, 2020

Coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) has affected more than 200 countries worldwide. This disease has hugely affected healthcare systems as well as the economy to an extent never seen before. To date, COVID-19 infection has led to about 165000 deaths in 150 countries. At present, there is no specific drug or efficient treatment for this disease. In this analysis based on evidential relationships of the biological characteristics of MSCs, especially umbilical cord (UC)-derived MSCs as well as the first clinical trial using MSCs for COVID-19 treatment, we discuss the use of UC-MSCs to improve the symptoms of COVID-19 in patients.

Keywords: Coronavirus, COVID-19, Mesenchymal stem cells, Umbilical cord-derived mesenchymal stem cells

Core tip: Based on the biological characteristics of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs), especially umbilical cord (UC)-derived MSCs, and the first clinical trial using MSCs for coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) treatment, we discuss the use of UC-MSCs to improve COVID-19 symptoms. UC-MSCs are suitable therapeutic candidates for COVID-19. Indeed, they are the strongest immunomodulatory MSCs and exhibit low immunogenicity compared with bone marrow-derived MSCs, adipose tissue-derived MSCs, and other MSCs. UC-MSCs are easily collected and expanded in vitro with minimal ethical concerns. In summary, UC-MSCs can be used to improve symptoms in patients with severe COVID-19 by suppressing inflammation and stimulating wound healing.