Mesenchymal Stromal Cells for the Treatment of COVID-19 Coronavirus

Bonus BioGroup joined the global fight against the novel coronavirus COVID-19 and used its knowledge and technology to research the immunomodulatory properties of mesenchymal stromal cells and enhance their potency for the treatment of life-threatening acute respiratory distress in COVID-19 pneumonia.



Mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) are being studied as COVID-19 therapy due to their immunomodulatory capabilities to attenuate the hyper-inflammatory response - the cytokine storm triggered by the COVID-19 virus and the ensuing life-threatening acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS).
Furthermore, MSCs have demonstrated their safety in multiple clinical trials for pulmonary diseases, including for mild to severe acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), with no reported adverse events.

Bonus’ drug product in development for COVID-19 therapy can also be used for the treatment of other inflammatory respiratory disease, including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), asthma and pneumonia, which are amongst the leading causes for death worldwide.

Bonus BioGroup has developed a procedure to specifically prime the ASCs and to enhance the cells’ immunomodulatory potential, while maintaining their safety. In preclinical studies, Bonus’ COVID-19 therapy MesenCure was shown to attenuate the hyper-inflammatory response in the lungs, as well as to promote the healing of the injured lung tissue.

COVID-19 and Inflammatory Lung Diseases Therapy

The COVID-19 virus (novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2) causes a respiratory illness that in severe cases results in pneumonia and life-threatening acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) requiring ventilation, and has long-term effects on the respiratory system. ARDS is also prevalent in other inflammatory lung diseases, including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), asthma, and acute lower respiratory tract infections and has a fatality rate of ~40%. COVID-19 vaccines might be less effective or not apply to the most vulnerable elderly and immunocompromised populations, and rapidly evolving mutations may cause the virus to evade the vaccination efforts, indicating that SARS-CoV-2 is here to stay for the foreseeable future. To date, there are no approved therapies for COVID-19, with current treatments being mainly supportive. However, scientists around the world have committed to finding new treatment options by repurposing approved drugs, developing novel vaccines, and exploring advanced treatment options, such as MSC therapies.

Inflammatory Lung Diseases

Worldwide more than 1 billion people suffer from either acute or chronic respiratory conditions, and about 7.5 million people die yearly from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), asthma, and acute lower respiratory tract infections and pneumonia. In the US and EU, mortality from respiratory diseases is the third leading cause of death, accounting in the EU for 8% of all deaths in 2015. The prevalence and mortality from respiratory diseases are likely to increase in the coming years as the population ages, due to smoking and the surge in air pollution caused by expansion in industrialization and urbanization that will lead to increase in chronic respiratory diseases, such as COPD which is estimated in 2030 to increase to 8.6% of all deaths worldwide, a 30% increase from 2015. To date, there is no cure for COPD and for asthma, only supportive treatment to alleviate the symptoms.


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