Coronavirus: UAE develops COVID-19 treatment, ‘could be game-changer’

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A United Arab Emirates research institute has developed a coronavirus treatment using stem cells “which could be a game-changer in the global fight” against the outbreak, a government official announced on Friday.

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The Abu Dhabi Stem Cell Center has developed a treatment method that regenerates lung cells and prevents the immune system from overreacting, Hend Al Otaiba, Director of Strategic Communications with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said in a Twitter thread.

She said the treatment involves the extraction of stem cells from a patient’s own blood and reintroducing them into the lungs via inhalation of a mist.

“[This] could have a significant impact on our ability to live with the virus until a vaccine is available,” Al Otaiba added.

The treatment has successfully undergone an initial phase of clinical trials, with no harmful side effects, on 73 patients making full recoveries, according to the director. The Ministry of Economy granted a patent for the development of the treatment, official WAM news agency reported.

Many of the trial patients were moderately to severely ill prior to treatment, and many were intubated in an intensive care unit, according to Al Otaiba.

More trials are being conducted and a clearer understanding of the treatment’s potential should be available in the coming weeks.

The UAE has so far recorded 13,038 coronavirus cases so far but has maintained a relatively low death toll with only 111 fatalities.

Meanwhile, 2,543 people, nearly 20 percent of the country’s infected patients, have recovered so far.

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