Israeli scientists are nearing completion of a “wonder cure” that can bring 70 per cent of severe Covid patients back from the brink of death and speed up recovery from the disease.
The treatment, MesenCure, is a form of cell therapy that injects healthy cells into the body which then ease extreme inflammation of the lungs – the most severe symptom of coronavirus.
This week the treatment finished phase two of the clinical trial process and its inventors hope it will soon be approved for emergency use in Israel and potentially in Britain.
“You inject living cells into the body derived from the tissue of a healthy donor, and like that we can obtain doses for tens of thousands of patients,” Tomer Bronshtein, the head of research at Bonus BioGroup, told the Sunday Telegraph.
The cells are effectively trained to recognise inflammation, Mr Bronshtein explained, as before treatment they are placed in a lab culture that mimics the conditions they will encounter in a Covid patients’ body.
“These cells can sense their environment and they start secreting a variety of proteins that inhibit or suppress the inflammation. It suppresses the cytokine storm, the hyper immune response triggered by Covid-19,” he said.
Data from phase two of clinical trials, which involved 50 severe Covid patients, showed that 70 per cent survived the disease after receiving several doses of MesenCure. The treatment also cut the amount of time spent in hospital by half.
“This is significant not only to the patients but to the healthcare providers, as you free up hospital and ICU beds to allow care for other patients,” Mr Bronshtein said.
He added that the shorter duration in hospital would have a third benefit for patients in the United States, which is reducing health insurance costs.
MesenCure is one of several treatments in development which could substantially reduce death rates and the amount of time spent in hospitals.
Among them is AlloCetra, which reported a similar success rate in preventing the deaths of hospitalised Covid patients with severe symptoms.
Shai Meretzki, the CEO of Bonus BioGroup, said he was hopeful that MesenCure could soon be used in the UK to treat severe Covid patients as the country grapples with a fresh wave of the virus.
“The UK is definitely a location that will be able to benefit significantly because it just entered the fourth wave,” he said. “And I’m sure it will be able to help both the medical system and the patients. It’s not only about saving life – the faster you heal, the less damage you suffer from long Covid [symptoms].”
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