Vietnam considers stem cells and plasma for treatment of Covid-19



As requested on Monday by Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh, who heads the National Steering Committee on the Prevention and Control of Covid-19, the Ministry of Health will consider an umbilical cord mesenchymal stem cell transplant for Covid-19 patients with signs of respiratory failure, while supplying plasma from those who beat the coronavirus to critical patients.

Both methods were earlier proposed to the Prime Minister by Professor Nguyen Thanh Liem, a prominent pediatric endoscopic surgeon and director of the Vinmec Research Institute for Stem Cell and Gene Technology.

The practice of stem cell infusion “has the ability to increase survival rates” 2.5 times in Covid-19 patients, compared to the transfusion-free group, said Liem, who pioneered therapy with stem cells for conditions such as cerebral palsy and autism in Vietnam.

Vietnam masters the technology of producing mesenchymal stem cells in large quantities. If studied and implemented, it would be a promising method to reduce mortality, he said.

A study by Romina Libster and colleagues published in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine earlier this year showed that transfusion of plasma from recovered patients helps reduce the rate of respiratory failure and thus helps reduce mortality in patients. Covid-19 patients.

“The two points that should be emphasized in this study are that they administered plasma to Covid-19 patients within 72 hours of the onset of mild symptoms and that they only used plasma with titers of high SARS-CoV-2 antibodies, ”Liem said.

The patients mentioned in the study are all over 65 years of age and have chronic illnesses, none of which experienced serious side effects from the treatment method.

Liem noted that the principle of collecting plasma from donors is similar to donating blood.

This method is inexpensive and easy to implement.

Therefore, he proposed that the Ministry of Health order the Ho Chi Minh City Blood Transfusion Hematology Hospital and the National Institute of Hematology – Blood Transfusion to soon establish a plasma bank containing antiviral antibodies for high risk patients.

In Vietnam, the plasma transfusion method to treat Covid-19 patients has been implemented by the National Hospital for Tropical Diseases since August. However, only a few Covid-19 patients have been treated with this method.

So far in the fourth wave, which hit Vietnam in late April and was by far the most difficult the country has faced, nearly 692,000 community infections have been recorded and 17,270 deaths.


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