Researchers investigate whether Allocetra could be helpful in reducing symptoms in critical COVID-19 patients.The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the lives and well-being of many people around the world. Although most people are able to recover from SARS-CoV-2 with minimal symptoms, some people develop severe symptoms including cardiovascular issues, significant shortness of breath, organ failure, and other complications that may require hospital treatment.
For people hospitalized with COVID-19, there are some treatments currently available, such as corticosteroids such as dexamethasone, or antiviral therapies such as remdesivir.
Cytokine storms are a rare but serious complication of critical COVID-19 patients; this occurs when cytokines, which are tiny molecules that tell other components of the immune system to elicit an inflammatory response, go into overdrive and trigger an attack of the immune system on healthy cells. This can potentially result in life-threatening complications including organ dysfunctions and organ failure, and there is some speculation that cytokine storms may be responsible for COVID-19 deaths. It is important to note that cytokine storms are not specific to COVID-19; they are also associated with other conditions such as sepsis and complications from some immunotherapies.
According to its manufacturer Enlivex Therapeutics Ltd., Allocetra prevents cytokine storms by preventing excessive activity of cytokines as well as reprogramming altered macrophages. Previous studies on Allocetra have indicated that it could potentially be an effective treatment for cytokine storms resulting from sepsis; in one study of ten critical sepsis patients treated with Allocetra published in Cytotherapy, all participants recovered within 28 days with a zero percent mortality rate and no severe side effects were observed.
The latest research on Allocetra for COVID-19 was a phase II clinical trial of eight COVID-19 patients in November and December; two patients were in critical condition and the others were in severe condition. The patients were given this treatment, and the results of the phase II study were published by Enlivex.
Seven of the eight participants had a complete recovery from their condition and were discharged from the hospital within an average of 4.7 days after administration of Allocetra. One of the participants in critical condition who was given Allocetra exhibited a significant improvement in symptoms and their condition was classified as moderate/severe as of December 3, 2020. No serious side effects were observed in the eight patients receiving this treatment.
The results of this phase II study suggest that Allocetra could potentially be a treatment option for patients experiencing a cytokine storm related to COVID-19 complications. More research is needed to determine the effectiveness, mechanism, and potential side effects of this treatment. According to Enlivex, more research is expected to be done regarding Allocetra for COVID-19 in 2021.
BMJ Best Practice (2021). BMJ Publishing Group. Accessed 2021 February 15, from https://bestpractice.bmj.com/topics/en-us/3000168/complications
Clinical Reference Group Recommendations: Therapies for COVID-19l. (2021 January 29). BC Centre for Disease Control. Accessed 2021 February 15, from http://www.bccdc.ca/health-professionals/clinical-resources/covid-19-care/clinical-care/treatments
Cunha, J.P. (2020 March 30). RxList Consumer. Accessed 2021 February 15, from https://www.rxlist.com/consumer_remdesivir_rdv/drugs-condition.htm
Enlivex (2020 December 3). Enlivex Therapeutics Ltd. Accessed 2021 February 15, from https://enlivex.com/pipeline/covid-19/.
Giles, A.J., Hutchinson, M.N.D., Sonnemann, H.M., et al. (2018). Dexamethasone-induced immunosuppression: mechanisms and implications for immunotherapy. Journal for ImmunoTherapy of Cancer 6(51). Doi: 10.1186/s40425-018-0371-5.
Hess, S. (2019 June). Life-saving immunomodulating cell therapies [Enlivex presentation]. Accessed 2021 February 15, from https://www.jefferies.com/CMSFiles/Jefferies.com/files/Enlivex.pdf
Mevorach, D. (2020 May). Effect of Allocetra-OTS (off-the-shelf apoptotic cells) Therapy in Sepsis. Cytotherapy 22(5). Doi: 10.1016/j.cyt.2020.03.488
Image by PIRO4D from Pixabay