COVID-19 Evidence Alerts
from McMaster PLUSTM

Current best evidence for clinical care (more info)

COVID-19 Evidence Alerts needs your support. If our service is of value to you, please consider donating to keep it going. Learn more Donate now

Treatment Mahendiratta S, Bansal S, Sarma P, et al. Stem cell therapy in COVID-19: Pooled evidence from SARS-CoV-2, SARS-CoV, MERS-CoV and ARDS: A systematic review. Biomed Pharmacother. 2021 May;137:111300. doi: 10.1016/j.biopha.2021.111300. Epub 2021 Jan 28.

BACKGROUND: SARS-CoV-2, which majorly affects the lungs and respiratory tract is thought due to dysregulation of the immune system which causes an immense imbalance of the cytokines. However, till now no standard treatment has been developed in treating the disease. On the other hand, it becomes important to prevent the acute respiratory tract infection due to COVID-19 which is the most dangerous phase leading to increased mortality. Hence this systematic review has been framed by pooling the available data of the use of stem cells in SARS-CoV-2, SARS-CoV, MERS-CoV and ARDS.

METHODS: 6 literature databases (PubMed, EMBASE, Scopus, Google Scholar,, and Clinical trial registry of India) were searched for relevant studies till 10th August 2020 using keywords stem cells, mesenchymal stem cells, cell therapy, SARS CoV-2, SARS Coronavirus, Coronavirus 2, COVID-19, nCoV-19, Novel Coronavirus, MERS CoV, ARDS, acute respiratory distress syndrome.

RESULTS: The observations of this systematic review suggest capability of MSCs in reducing the systemic inflammation and protecting against SARS-CoV-2 as evidenced by the available clinical data.

CONCLUSION: MSCs can overcome the clinical challenges currently faced by SARS-CoV-2 infected patients, specifically who are seriously ill and not responding to conventional therapies. Though the available clinical data is motivating, still predicting the therapeutic potential of MSCs will be too early in COVID-19. Hence, further studies in a larger cohort of patients becomes a prerequisite to validate their potential efficacy.

Discipline / Specialty Area Score
Infectious Disease
Hospital Doctor/Hospitalists
Internal Medicine
Comments from MORE raters

Hospital Doctor/Hospitalists rater

This is not yet clinically relevant.

Hospital Doctor/Hospitalists rater

This is a very good review, however stem cell technology is not advanced enough to have any significant benefit for patients with COVID-19. However this is good study and makes the scientific community explore the stem cell technology to be possibly used for future pandemics or patients with ARDS from other causes.

Respirology/Pulmonology rater

This literature review helps define the equipoise around the use of stem cell therapies in COVID-19 and SARS and MERS. There is no need for dissemination of this information to clinicians as there is no proven clinical utility at this time.

Respirology/Pulmonology rater

We don't need reviews with so few articles analysed.