The coronavirus pandemic has gripped all countries and infected more than half a million people around the world, so far. Some 100,000 people have also lost their lives to the virus. In Iran, too, all national plans have been drawn up while taking the epidemic into consideration.
The Royan Research Institute, which is a distinguished scientific centre in Iran, is naturally expected to adopt innovative measures in order to boost the society’s health at a time when the country is gripped by the coronavirus outbreak. One of the measures for which the research centre is known is its cell-therapy capacity. Recently, Royan has taken action to tap into its cell-therapy potential to fight COVID-19.
Head of the research centre Abdolhossein Shahverdi has, in an interview, weighed in on the measures adopted by the institute to fight the coronavirus, namely the establishment of a molecular diagnostic laboratory.
“The Royan Institute has good experience in the field of cell science,” he said.
“Given that the Royan Research Centre has the necessary infrastructure, we felt that we should tap into its potentialities … to help tackle the ordeal which has gripped the country,” he added.
“Of course, treatments offered by the Royan Institute has, so far, been mostly related to infertility or cell-therapy for hardly curable diseases; however, there was good infrastructure at Roya, and with reliance on this very infrastructure, we began to put into service a molecular diagnosis lab in cooperation with the Ministry of Health and Medical Education to serve as a backup coronavirus diagnosis laboratory,” he said.
Royan Institute Moving to Treat COVID-19 Patients via Cell Therapy
One of the problems that develop in patients infected with the coronavirus is that their lungs are affected, and these problems may result in subsequent complications. So far, good treatment methods have been used for COVID-19 patients in Iran by drawing on China’s experience in fighting the coronavirus as well as the findings of medical institutes inside Iran. In addition, a large percentage of patients have recovered using these very methods and returned to the bosom of their families.
he Royan Research Institute has experience in the field of cell therapy and using Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs). The institute has a record of treating different illnesses using cell therapy. Mesenchymal stem cells are among good cells used in cell therapy and play a role in moderating reactions by the immune system and healing damaged tissue. The research institute has received initial licenses from the Ministry of Health and Medical Treatment to use MSCs. By drawing on its experience in cell therapy and its treatment record in that regard, the Royan Institute has taken the first step in developing a treatment for coronavirus patients through cell therapy and stem cells in cooperation with other hospitals and the Tehran University of Medical Sciences.
“In this treatment method, MSCs are used. One of the sources of these cells are umbilical cord blood cells or marrow cells,” he noted.
“In the past, we had used these cells to treat some incurable illnesses such as cartilage and bone diseases, and we achieved good results,” said the director of the institute.
He expressed hope the treatment method will successfully pass the stage of clinical tests and prove useful in treating coronavirus patients.