WHAT IS THE CORONAVIRUS?
Coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses which are known to cause illnesses affecting the pulmonary system. Covid-19 is a novel Coronavirus believed to have been first transmitted from Pangolins to Humans in Wuhan, China. Initial signs of infection include fever, cough, headache and respiratory symptoms including shortness of breath.
Covid-19 may be transmitted either via direct contact with contaminated materials, or by way of inhaling respiratory droplets from infected individuals. The incubation period for new infections is believed to be between 4 to 7 days. Asymptomatic patients can shed the virus potentially up to 14 days after the initial exposure. Age is the greatest factor predicting illness severity, with up to 15-20% of all cases developing into a “severe” course secondary to viral pneumonia. The mortality rate for infected individuals above 65 years of age is between 3-11%, but younger individuals can still experience a protracted and hazardous symptomatic course.
Treatment of Covid-19 is at the infancy stages. Nonetheless, rapid progress both in the development of a vaccine and trials of known medications are taking place, which may have great promise. Two such medications are a combination of Hydoxychloroqine (Plaquenil) and Azithromycin. Information concerning this potential treatment can be found here. Hydoxychloroqine is an anti-malarial drug, in the quinine family, shown in one small study to have a positive effect in reducing both the duration and symptoms of COVID-19, when used with Azithromycin. Azithromycin is an antibiotic which treats respiratory and other infections. It interferes with bacterial protein synthesis, by inhibiting production of mRNA. Another antiviral drup, Remdesivir, originally developed by Gilead for the treatment of Ebola, is in clinical trials to determine if it is affective against COVID-19.
Most excitingly, Regenerative Cell therapies may be effective in treatment patients with severe respiratory symptoms associated with this novel coronovirus. Intravenous injection of both mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) and Exosomeshave been shown to improve patient outcome in these settings. These regenerative treatments are known for their anti-inflammatory, anti-degenerative, immuno-stimulatory and anti-infection properties. Regenerative pain specialists have been utilizing these substances for a number of years to aid in the healing, regeneration, and repair of damaged tissues, both systemically and in site specific areas throughout the body.
Exosomes have the potential to dramatically alter the outcome of patients with significant respiratory complication from a COVID-19 pneumonia. These are extracellular microvesicles which contain cytokines and mRNA, ubiquitous in the body for cell-cell communication. Exosomes contain growth factors, cytokines, and immune modulators. They can alter cellular dysfunction, thereby exhibiting a protective affect against cell death by improving the cellular response to severe inflammatory and ischemic (shortage of oxygen) scenarios.
HOPE MAY BE NEAR
COVID-19, a novel Coronavirus, continues to plague society and our way of life, and has the potential to cause significant morbidity and mortality to the peoples of the world. Several medications are being studied, and vaccines, while promising, are in their infancy. Presently, there is no “cure” for this disease, which can lead to severe pulmonary complications and death. However, Regenerative Cell Therapy, specifically Exosomes, offers a potential therapy with little if any untoward effects, and great promise, to reverse the devastating pulmonary complications of patients with COVID-19 pneumonia.