As is the case with numerous pharmaceutical companies who have been racing to find a potential cure for the patients suffering from infection with Corornavirus, the stem cell companies have been on an outlook to identify novel stem cell therapy which can treat the disease and / or its symptoms.
Athersys is developing a possible therapy for acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). It is among the most concerning complication caused by COVID-19. Further, the firm has announced that they have made an attempt to fast track the launch of a pivotal trial of its MultiStem “off-the-shelf” stem cell product. Similarly, San Marino’s Bioscience Institute recently announced that mesenchymal stem cells could be potential treatment options for COVID-19. The university claims that mesenchymal stem cells have the ability to improve lung microenvironment. The transplanted cell also promotes healing of the tissues and prevent pulmonary fibrosis.
Further, the Chinese open repository for scientific researchers says that, currently, 14 clinical trials to treat coronavirus patients are being conducted in China after some evidence of positive result in the animal models. Preclinical studies on animal models have shown signs of repair in severe organ damage caused by the virus. Additionally, it is worth mentioning that the stem cell companies indicate that if the therapy is a success, then individuals suffering from the COVID-19 can utilise their own stem cells obtained from fat cells (autologous therapy). However, the expansion of these cells for infusion will correspond to 1 million cells per kg of weight, which will require a time span of one to two weeks.
The increasing activity in the R&D of stem cell therapies has somewhat made it difficult for industry stakeholders to establish in-house manufacturing, especially for the large-scale manufacturing. These challenges are likely to lead to an increased dependence on contract manufacturing service providers.
Do We Have Enough Manufacturing Capacity with the Stem Cell Companies?
With the virus
strengthening its foothold in several countries across the globe, the threat of
pandemic has become real and the question is – are we ready?
Even if these therapies are approved, do we have the capacity to manufacture it on the global basis?