COVID19 pneumonitis

Study code

Lead researcher
Dr Charles Crawley

Study type
Participant re-contact

Institution or company
Cambridge University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

Speciality area
Respiratory Disorders


The COVID-19 pandemic, commonly referred to as “coronavirus”, first began in the city of Wuhan, China in December 2019. This virus has since spread globally, with infections reported in nearly every country.

COVID-19 targets the body’s respiratory system, where infections can be found in the nose, throat and lungs. The effect of COVID-19 infection is very variable, where many people might not know that they have been infected and have recovered from COVID-19. However, COVID-19 infection can cause people to have difficulty breathing. This can be severe enough to require hospitalisation and potentially intensive care treatment.

While they are being treated in hospital, COVID-19-infected patients can be found to have inflamed tissue in their lungs (referred to medically as “pneumonitis”). This inflammation is thought to be caused by their body’s immune systems over-reacting to the infection rather than the COVID-19 virus itself. By potentially dampening down this overreaction of their immune system, it is hoped that COVID-19 patients with inflamed lungs will recover more quickly and have a better chance of survival.

Mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) have been shown to have anti-inflammatory and healing properties on injured tissue. MSCs have been trialled in various diseases but have not yet been tested on patients with COVID-19. MSCs can be sourced from a number of tissue types and donors, for example, bone marrow and umbilical cord.

In this study-COMET 20d -we will use bone marrow from healthy volunteersto source MSCs. The MSCs will be used to develop a cell-based treatment for COVID-19-related pneunomitis. We will also determine whether it is feasible to recruit bone marrow donors in a clinically useful timeframe to treat COVID-19 patients.

A future trial, COMET20, will use the bone marrow-derived MSCs (BM-MSCs) manufactured in COMET20d to treat COVID-19 patients suffering with pneumonitis, to determine whether the BM-MSCs can reduce the likelihood for mechanical ventilation and reduce hospitalisation.