A South Korean biotech company says it will use natural killer (NK) cells, exosomes and brown adipose-derived stem cells (ADSC) as treatment of long COVID.
NK cells are a type of immune cell that have granules or small particles that can kill tumor cells or those infected with a virus. Panacell Biotech said they can be used to treat those with terminal illness as well as those with long COVID or post COVID-19 conditions.
The company is South Korea’s research institute specializing in advanced regenerative medical cell therapy using adipose-derived stem cells (ADSC).
It announced today (August 10) that it will soon conduct those cells’ toxicity tests through clinical trials and laboratory animals.
Currently, in South Korea, there are guidelines for plasma treatment that administers plasma from patients who have recovered from COVID-19 to other patients. Although there already exist COVID-19 treatments, such as Paxlovid, a clear therapeutic effect has not been confirmed yet.
There are more than 60 long COVID conditions.
According to the Mayo Clinic, one in four people aged 65 or above suffer from aftereffects of COVID-19.
It has been reported that people with long COVID often experience an extremely broad variety of symptoms, including less well-known side effects such as amnesia, and an inability to perform familiar movements or commands.
Panacell said it is believed that about four million people – or 2.4% of the U.S. employed population – have reduced ability to work because of long COVID.
Associate professor Gwenaëlle Douaud at the Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences (NDCN), University of Oxford, said her team observed a greater reduction in grey matter thickness and tissue contract in the orbitofrontal cortex and parahippocampal gyrus.
She said: “We saw greater changes in markers of tissue damage in regions that are functionally connected to primary olfactory cortex.”
While the long-term effects of COVID-19 on smell remain inconclusive, the study suggests a possible connection between brain changes by COVID-19 and memory.
The company says there have been many clinical results in which the coronavirus causes inflammation in various organs, including the respiratory system, and chronic symptoms persist.
Sun Yanrong, deputy director of the China Biotechnology Development Center, said: “We are continuing to monitor the treatment using stem cells. In Wuhan, over 200 patients have already been treated with stem cells.
“The clinical treatment results show that the stem cell therapy has good safety and has also been confirmed to have a therapeutic effect. It was also effective in recovering the lungs.”
Seung-Ho Choi, CEO of Panacell Biotech, added: “We expect that this clinical trial will reveal therapeutic effects of stem cell therapy along with these treatments.”
Panacell Biotech is a bio institute in advanced regenerative medicine and cell therapy, recognized for its contributions to the development of biotechnology by researching stem cell culture and cell banking, focusing on the development of treatments for various cancers and incurable diseases.