“I don’t know why people pay attention only to vaccines and treatments against the new coronavirus. Stem cell therapies are more useful to treat Covid-19.”
So claimed Lee Hee-young, president of the Korean Association of Stemcell Therapy, at a news conference in Seoul, Monday. He called for active use of stem cell therapies to treat Covid-19 patients.
|Lee Hee-young, president of the Korean Association of Stemcell Therapy|
“Several studies have proved the effects of autologous stem cells in treating acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), which is the leading cause of death in Covid-19 patients,” Lee said. “The concept of stem cell therapy is the same as that of blood transfusion or bone marrow transplantation. Decades of cell therapies have proved that stem cell therapy is safe.”
While the development of a treatment or a vaccine against Covid-19 takes a long time and it may not be able to treat patients immediately because of virus mutation possibilities, stem cell therapies can restore damaged lungs directly, Lee claimed.
“It is more important to restore damaged lungs than to fight the virus. Stem cell therapy restores the lungs, giving patients time to beat the virus,” he went on to say. “However, people are paying attention to vaccine or treatment candidates only. This is why I am holding a news conference.”
Lee pointed out that the local environment makes it difficult to use stem cell therapies. Thus, the government should ease regulations on the management and use of cell culture facilities so that doctors can perform stem cell therapies with simple cell culture, he said.
“As long as physicians have a positive pressure facility and a culture kit, they can separate and culture cells with simple training,” he said. “If the authorities allow doctors to perform stem cell therapies with a disposable mobile culture autonomously, the cost of stem cell therapies will go down significantly.”
Lee added that he asked related officials to include such rules in the Act on Safety and Support for Advanced Regenerative Medicine and Advanced Biopharmaceuticals, which is to take effect in the second half of the year.
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