Non-Coding RNAs in COVID-19: Emerging Insights and Current Questions

Noncoding RNA. 2021 Aug 31;7(3):54. doi: 10.3390/ncrna7030054.


The highly infectious severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) emerged as the causative agent of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in late 2019, igniting an unprecedented pandemic. A mechanistic picture characterising the acute immunopathological disease in severe COVID-19 is developing. Non-coding RNAs (ncRNAs) constitute the transcribed but un-translated portion of the genome and, until recent decades, have been undiscovered or overlooked. A growing body of research continues to demonstrate their interconnected involvement in the immune response to SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 development by regulating several of its pathological hallmarks: cytokine storm syndrome, haemostatic alterations, immune cell recruitment, and vascular dysregulation. There is also keen interest in exploring the possibility of host-virus RNA-RNA and RNA-RBP interactions. Here, we discuss and evaluate evidence demonstrating the involvement of short and long ncRNAs in COVID-19 and use this information to propose hypotheses for future mechanistic and clinical studies.

Keywords: COVID-19; RNA–RNA interactions; cytokine storm syndrome; haemostasis; inflammation; lncRNA; microRNA; non-coding RNA; vascular regulation.

Publication types

  • Review