Israeli firm hopeful on curing COVID-19 using placenta therapy

An Israeli therapeutic company reported they had cured six critically ill COVID-19 patients using placenta therapy in Israel.

According to The Jerusalem Post’s website, Israel-based Pluristem Therapeutic Inc. indicated six patients suffering from acute respiratory failure and inflammations associated with coronavirus, were treated at three Israeli hospitals for a week.

The report said all of the patients were “high-risk for mortality” from the deadly disease. At the same time, four of them “also demonstrated failure of other organ systems, including cardiovascular and kidney failure.”

Pluristem Therapeutics used placentas to grow smart cells and programs them to secrete therapeutic proteins in the bodies of the COVID-19 patients.

The placenta-based cell therapy consists of 15-milliliter doses of cells — known as PLacental eXpanded cells. It is administered in simple inter-muscular injections. Once in the body, the cells become like “a small factory that generates therapeutic proteins.”

The company said all the critically-ill patients survived. Four of them indicated improved their respiratory conditions while three were in advanced stages of getting out ventilators. The two who had preexisting medical conditions also showed improvement in respiration and recovery.

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Placenta therapy cure for COVID-19

Yaky Yanay, Pluristem Therapeutics’s president and chief executive officer, said they are “pleased with the initial outcome of the compassionate use program and committed to harnessing PLX cells for the benefit of patients and healthcare systems.”

“Pluristem is dedicated to using its competitive advantages in large-scale manufacturing to potentially deliver PLX cells to a large number of patients in significant need,” Yanay added.

The said Thursday that a trial would come soon and, once conducted, he hopes that “approval can be very fast.”

He also said once they get the approval from the regulators, they could “manufacture cells to treat thousands very quickly.”

The company claimed a single placenta could cure around 20,000 COVID-19 patients.

However, public health expert Manfred Green said he is “very very cautious” about the placenta therapy innovation. Green, who is the founding director of the Israel Center for Disease Control and director of the University of Haifa’s international master’s program in public health, said: “I don’t have any feeling this is going to work. This is a viral disease, not something from outer space, and for viral diseases, we’ve always struggled to find treatment.”

The treatment is currently waiting for full approval. Pluristem, however, is receiving approvals on a patient-by-patient basis in Israel and the US.