10 severe COVID patients given Israeli drug, leave hospital in one day

MesenCure Development Entrepreneurs (from right): Dr Dror Ben David, Dr Shai Meretzki and Tomer Bronstein

Bonus MesenCure, which consists of activated mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) that are isolated from fatty tissue of healthy donors, has been shown to reduce inflammation and alleviate respiratory and other symptoms in patients with life-threatening respiratory distress. caused by COVID-19.

“So far, the results of treatment with the drug MesenCure are extremely impressive and an improvement over the results of other treatments,” said Dr Shadi Hamoud, principal investigator in the clinical trial and deputy director of the department of internal medicine E in Rambam.

He said the results were so promising that the hospital was already examining the use of the treatment for other indications.

Bonus reported in 10 COVID patients aged 45 to 75, all with severe symptoms. Ninety percent of them also had co-morbidities.

The data showed a 40% decrease in lung inflammation after treatment – from 55% to 15%, as seen in chest x-rays, in the first five days after treatment. A month later, lung inflammation reached 1%.

Additionally, patients showed significantly improved respiratory function, with blood oxygen saturation increasing to 95% and lung function returning to almost completely normal levels after just one month.

Meretzki shared a lab image of a healthy lung, a diseased lung, and a lung treated with MesenCure. “The treated lung looks almost identical to the normal, healthy lung – complete healing, complete prevention of lung damage,” Meretzki said.

Most strikingly, patients were discharged from the hospital after a median of just one day after treatment.

And there were no side effects associated with MesenCure, the company reported.

Meretzki said the trial followed patients for 30 days after treatment was given. All but one had survived. The deceased patient did not die from COVID-19 but from a severe pre-existing illness.

Many patients with COVID-19 die from an increased production of inflammatory molecules called cytokines, rather than the virus itself, Meretzki explained. When the immune system secretes too many cytokines, a so-called “cytokine storm” can break out. Such an excessive immune response ravages healthy lung tissue, leading to acute respiratory distress syndrome or failure, and ultimately death.

Bonus was founded in 2008. It has worked with MSCs for a decade from its headquarters in Haifa, where it developed its main product, a tissue bone graft which is also based on MSCs.

Meretzki said that MSCs are cells that “are found in all of us; they are responsible for damage control and various daily activities. “

When the coronavirus outbreak began in early 2020, Bonus began investigating the potential of MSCs to possibly reduce the cytokine storm in COVID-19 patients.

The phase II trial is expected to continue in Rambam and include 50 additional patients. However, due to the low level of infection in Israel, Bonus sought approval to conduct the trial in Europe as well, Meretzki said.

He told the Post that the Phase II trial is expected to be completed quickly once the remaining patients are fully enrolled.


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Hector Hedgepeth

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