COVID-19: immunopathology, pathophysiological mechanisms, and treatment options
van Eijk, L.E.
van der Voort, P.H.J.
Olde Rikkert, M.G.M.
van der Hoeven, J.G.
den Dunnen, W.F.A.
van Goor, H.
Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), continues to spread globally despite the worldwide implementation of preventive measures to combat the disease. Although most COVID-19 cases are characterised by a mild, self-limiting disease course, a considerable subset of patients develop a more severe condition, varying from pneumonia and acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) to multi-organ failure (MOF). Progression of COVID-19 is thought to occur as a result of a complex interplay between multiple pathophysiological mechanisms, all of which may orchestrate SARS-CoV-2 infection and contribute to organ-specific tissue damage. In this respect, dissecting currently available knowledge of COVID-19 immunopathogenesis is crucially important, not only to improve our understanding of its pathophysiology but also to fuel the rationale of both novel and repurposed treatment modalities. Various immune-mediated pathways during SARS-CoV-2 infection are relevant in this context, which relate to innate immunity, adaptive immunity, and autoimmunity. Pathological findings in tissue specimens of patients with COVID-19 provide valuable information with regard to our understanding of pathophysiology as well as the development of evidence-based treatment regimens. This review provides an updated overview of the main pathological changes observed in COVID-19 within the most commonly affected organ systems, with special emphasis on immunopathology. Current management strategies for COVID-19 include supportive care and the use of repurposed or symptomatic drugs, such as dexamethasone, remdesivir, and anticoagulants. Ultimately, prevention is key to combat COVID-19, and this requires appropriate measures to attenuate its spread and, above all, the development and implementation of effective vaccines. © 2021 The Authors. The Journal of Pathology published by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. on behalf of The Pathological Society of Great Britain and Ireland.
Acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS)
To reference this document use:
Angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2)
Autoimmunity; coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)
Diffuse alveolar damage (DAD)
Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2)
Journal of Pathology, 254 (254), 307-331