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Matrix Biology


Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) recently emerged as the cause of a global pandemic. Infection with SARS-CoV-2 can result in COVID-19 with both acute and chronic disease manifestations that continue to impact many patients long after the resolution of viral replication. There is therefore great interest in understanding the host factors that contribute to COVID-19 pathogenesis. In this review, we address the role of hyaluronan (HA), an extracellular matrix polymer with roles in inflammation and cellular metabolism, in COVID-19 and critically evaluate the hypothesis that HA promotes COVID-19 pathogenesis. We first provide a brief overview of COVID-19 infection. Then we briefly summarize the known roles of HA in airway inflammation and immunity. We then address what is known about HA and the pathogenesis of COVID-19 acute respiratory distress syndrome (COVID-19 ARDS). Next, we examine potential roles for HA in post-acute SARS-CoV-2 infection (PASC), also known as "long COVID" as well as in COVID-associated fibrosis. Finally, we discuss the potential therapeutics that target HA as a means to treat COVID-19, including the repurposed drug hymecromone (4-methylumbelliferone). We conclude that HA is a promising potential therapeutic target for the treatment of COVID-19.


Humans, COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2, Hyaluronic Acid, Inflammation, Post-Acute COVID-19 Syndrome



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