Severely ill COVID patients who received two intravenous doses of stem cells three days apart were much more likely to survive and recover quickly, researchers found.

“The results are quite spectacular,” said senior researcher Dr. Camillo Ricordi, director of the Diabetes Research Institute and Cell Transplant Center at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. “It’s probably the best trial ever done for a COVID cure, because we have 100% survival in subjects less than 85 years of age versus 42% survival in the control group.”

The clinical trial involved 24 COVID patients at one of two Miami-area hospitals who had developed severe acute respiratory distress syndrome, a condition in which the body’s immune response to a serious infection causes the lungs to fill with fluid.

Half were randomly chosen to receive two separate IV infusions of 100 million stem cells, while the others received a placebo IV.

After one month, 91% of patients in the stem-cell-treated group had survived compared to 42% in the control group. Among patients younger than 85 years old, everyone treated with stem cells survived.

The stem cells also sped recovery time. More than half of stem-cell patients were able to leave the hospital within two weeks and more than 80% recovered by day 30, compared with less than 37% in the control group.