Differentially-regulated miRNAs in COVID-19: A systematic review

Rev Med Virol. 2023 Jul;33(4):e2449. doi: 10.1002/rmv.2449. Epub 2023 May 5.


Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) is responsible for coronavirus disease of 2019 (COVID-19) that infected more than 760 million people worldwide with over 6.8 million deaths to date. COVID-19 is one of the most challenging diseases of our times due to the nature of its spread, its effect on multiple organs, and an inability to predict disease prognosis, ranging from being completely asymptomatic to death. Upon infection, SARS-CoV-2 alters the host immune response by changing host-transcriptional machinery. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are regarded as post-transcriptional regulators of gene expression that can be perturbed by invading viruses. Several in vitro and in vivo studies have reported such dysregulation of host miRNA expression upon SARS-CoV-2 infection. Some of this could occur as an anti-viral response of the host to the viral infection. Viruses themselves can counteract that response by mounting their own pro-viral response that facilitates virus infection, an aspect which may cause pathogenesis. Thus, miRNAs could serve as possible disease biomarkers in infected people. In the current review, we have summarised and analysed the existing data about miRNA dysregulation in patients infected with SARS-CoV-2 to determine their concordance between studies, and identified those that could serve as potential biomarkers during infection, disease progression, and death, even in people with other co-morbidities. Having such biomarkers can be vital in not only predicting COVID-19 prognosis, but also the development of novel miRNA-based anti-virals and therapeutics which can become invaluable in case of the emergence of new viral variants with pandemic potential in the future.

Keywords: COVID-19; SARS-CoV-2; biomarkers; differential gene expression; disease progression; miRNAs.

Publication types

  • Systematic Review
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers
  • COVID-19*
  • Humans
  • MicroRNAs* / genetics
  • SARS-CoV-2 / genetics
  • SARS-CoV-2 / metabolism
  • Virus Diseases*
  • Viruses* / genetics


  • MicroRNAs
  • Biomarkers