Stem cell therapies against COVID-19: Real hope or dangerous scam?

Dangerous deception of desperate patients

In a world marked by uncertainty, despair often leads the most vulnerable to try what they hope will be miraculous solutions. In this context, a study published in the journal 'Stem Cell Reports' has shed light on an alarming reality: 38 companies with clinics in various countries, including the United States, Mexico and Spain, are involved in the direct marketing to the consumer of alleged stem cell treatments and exosomas therapies, aimed at preventing and treating Covid-19.

However, it is essential to stress that these interventions do not have the approval of national regulatory bodies and lack strong evidence to support their safety and effectiveness.

A dangerous deception of desperate patients

The expert analysis revealed that most of these companies promote their products as solutions for persistent – or "long-term" – Covid, as well as associated symptoms, such as mental confusion and fatigue, which affect some people who have survived the virus.

Patients looking online for treatments, especially for long-term Covid, should be extremely cautious about marketing tactics that minimize risks and make misleading claims about the potential benefits.

This is a warning point raised by Leigh Turner, a professor of bioethics at Irvine University in California (USA), and lead author of the study. The anguish faced by patients who continue to suffer the effects of Covid-19 makes them particularly vulnerable to persuasive and misleading marketing strategies.

History of scams and danger

In addition to the medical and psychological risks involved in the use of these products, many of them are high in price. According to the analysis, the costs of these alleged "treatments" range from $2,950 to $25,000. The promise of relief could become an economic trap, with desperate patients risking thousands of dollars.

Even more worrying is the fact that many of these companies operate in a constantly changing market. Some companies stopped marketing their products after receiving warning letters from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or the Federal Trade Commission. Others, in a game of cat and mouse, have managed to evade detection by regulatory bodies.

A global market for deception

The scope of this problem transcends borders. Of the 60 clinics operated by these companies, 24 are based in the United States, 22 in Mexico, and others are located in various countries, from the Cayman Islands to the Arab Emirates. This phenomenon is a reminder of the need for effective regulation at the global level to combat these fraudulent practices and protect vulnerable patients.

It is imperative that society remain vigilant in the face of these scams disguised as miraculous solutions. Desperation should not blind us to the importance of seeking treatments backed by scientific evidence. Only through rigorous research and proper regulation can we ensure the health and well-being of those who continue to fight the aftermath of Covid-19.