COVID-19 continues to affect an unprecedented number of people with the emergence of new variants posing a serious challenge to global health. There is an expansion of knowledge in understanding the pathogenesis of Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), and the impact of the acute disease on multiple organs. In addition, growing evidence reports that the impact of COVID-19 on different organs persists long after the recovery phase of the disease, leading to long-term consequences of COVID-19. These long-term consequences involve pulmonary as well as extra-pulmonary sequelae of the disease. Noteably, recent research has shown a potential association between COVID-19 and change in the molecular cargo of extracellular vesicles (EVs). EVs are vesicles released by cells and play an important role in cell communication by transfer of bioactive molecules between cells. Emerging evidence shows a strong link between EVs and their molecular cargo, and regulation of metabolism in health and disease. Researchers at the University of Queensland discuss current knowledge about EVs and their potential role in COVID-19 pathogenesis, their current and future implications as tools for biomarker and therapeutic development and their possible effects on long-term impact of COVID-19.
EVs in the pathogenesis of COVID-19 and their utility in clinical translation
EVs released from infected cells may contain SARS CoV 2 virus in double membrane vesicles, viral nucleic acids, proteins, virus induced cellular factors, mediators of inflammation, coagulation and organ damage,and factors associated with perpetuation of COVID-19 or long COVID. The intercellular transfer of cargo via EVs promote the spread of the virus and reprogram host disease susceptibility leading to the development of acute and long term consequences of COVID. EV associated molecular signature in COVID-19 can be investigated for their biomarker potential and therapeutic utility