Nearly two million Americans have tested positive for COVID-19 and more than 100,000 Americans have died. In its most severe form, COVID-19 leads to acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS)—a life-threatening lung injury that allows fluid to leak into the lungs and makes it difficult for patients to breathe. Studies show that more than 40 percent of individuals hospitalized for severe and critical COVID-19 develop ARDS, and 22 percent to 62 percent of those who are diagnosed and become critically ill, die from the disease. Other than supportive care, there is no effective treatment for ARDS.
The use of mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) offers a unique option for patients with ARDS. Recent studies have shown safety and a just-published systematic review and meta-analysis shows a trend toward improved outcomes, however larger studies are needed to confirm these results. The COVID-19 Alliance for Cell Therapy Research, launched in March 2020 by the independent, non-profit, Alliance for Cell Therapy Now, has engaged the commitment of academic and research institutions and health systems across the country to collaborate on evidence development to confirm early signals of positive outcomes of MSC therapies on patients with COVID-19-associated ARDS, to help patients in need.