Mar 29, 2020 06:04 UTC
  • Iranian scientists looking at stem cell technology to treat COVID-19: Report

An Iranian stem cell scientist has rejected reports that the drug to treat COVID-19 is produced in the country, clarifying his team of experts are working on experimental therapeutic stem cell methods to treat the patients.

According to Press TV, an earlier report has quoted Iranian stem cell scientist Dr. Masoud Soleimani, who has been recently released after over one year of imprisonment in the United States, as saying that a drug to treat the deadly new coronavirus has been produced in Iran.

Soleimani, who is a hematology and stem cells researcher, explained that he and his research team are using mesenchymal stem cells to modify the immune response in corona patients, adding that the research is being conducted with the support of the Health Ministry at Shariati and Masih Daneshvari Hospitals, and the results of the first phase of its clinical trial will be announced soon by the Health Ministry.

There are numerous reports about potential treatments for COVID-19, including Japanese conglomerate Fujifilm -- most famous for its film and instant cameras -- who promotes a drug called Avigan, also known as favipiravir, and the use of common anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine that is advised by US President Donald Trump. But, according to the World Health Organization, there is no specific medicine to prevent or treat coronavirus disease (COVID-19) yet. 

The WHO says health officials are testing four of the most promising drugs to fight COVID-19, including malaria medications chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine, an antiviral compound called Remdesivir, a combination of HIV drugs Lopinavir and Ritonavir and a combination of those drugs plus interferon-beta.

There are no proven therapies to treat COVID-19 but there are a number of clinical trials that are ongoing, Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove, Head of WHO’s emerging diseases and zoonosis unit, told reporters on Friday. “It’s important that these medications are evaluated appropriately so we know what works and that we have the right data to support what works."