UNAIR experts study hematopoietic cells and natural killer cells’ potential as Covid-19 Therapy

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Dr. Purwati, dr., Sp.PD, K-PTI, FINASIM. (Photo: By courtesy)

UNAIR NEWS – WHO has declared COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2) a global pandemic since April 2020. The spread of the virus has increased drastically in a short time. This viral infection starts as the virus enters the cell and replicates /reproduces the host cell, damaging the host cell. 

Regarding this, a team of Universitas Airlangga experts led by Dr. Purwati, dr., Sp.PD, K-PTI, FINASIM., study the potential of hematopoietic cells and natural killer cells as a therapy for COVID-19. As reported in a scientific article entitled “The Potential of Hematopoietic Cells and Natural Killer Cells as Covid-19 Therapy”, Purwati explained that the antiviral therapy was chosen for COVID-19, referring to the treatment used in the previous pandemic, MERS and SARS pandemics.

“The Republic of China National Health Commission (NHC)has included antiviral therapy as an experimental treatment for COVID-19 in the latest version of the Guidelines for the Prevention, Diagnosis, and Treatment of Novel Coronavirus-induced Pneumonia. Antibiotic therapy, moreover, is also used in conjunction with antiviral therapy. Recently, stem cell-based biological, medical therapy is selected as an optional treatment for handling COVID-19 due to its potential viability, ” she explained.

Hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs), she continued, are multipotent progenitor cells that can be obtained from various types of blood cells. HSCs can be found on peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMSc), bone marrow, or umbilical cord blood. HSC cell isolates must express the CD73, CD90, and / or CD 105 markers, not the CD 14, CD 34 and CD45 markers.

“HSCs are claimed to have anti-inflammatory, immunosuppressive properties, and can be transplanted into incompatible individuals, although the specific mechanism cannot be clarified,” she explained.

At the end, she also explained that natural killer (NK) cells are innate lymphocytes that act as the first line of defense against tumor cells and viral infections. NK cells have numerous mechanisms to kill cells infected by the virus, including cytolytic granules exocytosis and the potency of extracellular death receptors. NK cells also have an important role in controlling infection, especially infection by viruses. 

“Even though this study is an in vitro study, it can be a theoretical basis in developing alternative therapies based on stem cell therapy in dealing with COVID-19 in Indonesia,” she concluded.

Author: Nuri Hermawan

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