Since it was first reported, the novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) remains an unresolved puzzle for biomedical researchers in different fields. Various treatments, drugs, and interventions were explored as treatments for COVID. Nevertheless, there are no standard and effective therapeutic measures. Meanwhile, mesenchymal stem cell (MSC) therapy offers a new approach with minimal side effects. MSCs and MSC-based products possess several biological properties that potentially alleviate COVID-19 symptoms. Generally, there are three classifications of stem cell therapy: cell-based therapy, tissue engineering, and cell-free therapy. This review discusses the MSC-based and cell-free therapies for patients with COVID-19, their potential mechanisms of action, and clinical trials related to these therapies. Cell-based therapies involve the direct use and injection of MSCs into the target tissue or organ. On the other hand, cell-free therapy uses secreted products from cells as the primary material. Cell-free therapy materials can comprise cell secretomes and extracellular vesicles. Each therapeutic approach possesses different benefits and various risks. A better understanding of MSC-based and cell-free therapies is essential for supporting the development of safe and effective COVID-19 therapy.
- cell-based therapy
- cell-free therapy
- mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs)