COVID‐19 hypothesis: Exosomes of mesenchymal stem cells as nano-cargos
for anti-SARS-CoV-2 asRNAs
The severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) emerged
in December 2019 is rapidly spreading worldwide. Scientists are
searching to find an effective treatment for coronavirus disease 2019
(COVID-19). Several antiviral drugs are currently undergoing clinical
trial studies to evaluate their safety and efficacy in the treatment of
COVID-19. SARS-CoV-2 is a positive-sense single-stranded RNA virus.
Previous studies showed the efficacy of anti-RNA virus, single strand
RNA inhibiting antisense RNAs (asRNAs), on silencing of virus
replication, in vitro. To transfer the anti-SARS-CoV-2 asRNAs to human
respiratory epithelium, exosomes can be suggested as a promising
candidate. Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) secret exosomes and they can be
loaded by anti-RNA virus asRNAs. MSCs-secreted exosomes as a nano-cargo
of anti-SARS-CoV-2 asRNAs have other therapeutic potentials such as
immunomodulatory effects of their cytokine contents, affinity to
respiratory epithelial attachment, anti-fibrotic activity in lung,
non-toxicity for normal cells, and do not trigger an immune response.
Inhalation of anti-SARS-CoV-2 asRNAs may stop SARS-CoV-2 replication.
Producing a specific anti-SARS-CoV-2 asRNAs by targeting the genome of
virus and their delivery by MSCs exosomes is suggested and discussed.
This approach potentially sheds light on gene therapy of the other human
lung diseases via inhalational delivery using exosomes in future.