REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints202305.1487.v1
Subject: Medicine And Pharmacology, Clinical Medicine Keywords: biomarkers; COVID-19; epidemiology; laboratory; long COVID; pathogenesis; post-acute sequelae of SARS-CoV-19 infection (PASC); post COVID; post-COVID syndrome (PCS)
Online: 22 May 2023 (09:41:11 CEST)
Long COVID (LC) encompasses a constellation of long-term symptoms experienced by at least 10% of people after the initial SARS-CoV-2 infection, and so far has affected about 65 million people. The etiology of LC remains unclear; however, many pathophysiological pathways may be involved, including viral persistence; chronic, low grade inflammatory response; immune dysregulation and defective immune response; reactivation of latent viruses; autoimmunity; persistent endothelial dysfunction and coagulopathy; gut dysbiosis; hormonal dysregulation, mitochondrial dysfunction; and autonomic nervous system dysfunction. There are no specific tests for the diagnosis of LC, and clinical features including laboratory findings and biomarkers may not specifically relate to LC. Therefore, it is of paramount importance to develop and validate biomarkers that can be employed for the prediction, diagnosis and prognosis of LC and its therapeutic response. Promising candidate biomarkers that are found in some patients are markers of systemic inflammation including acute phase proteins, cytokines and chemokines; biomarkers reflecting SARS-CoV-2 persistence, reactivation of herpesviruses and immune dysregulation; biomarkers of endotheliopathy, coagulation and fibrinolysis; microbiota alterations; diverse proteins and metabolites; hormonal and metabolic biomarkers; as well as cerebrospinal fluid biomarkers. At present, there are only two reviews summarizing relevant biomarkers; however, they do not cover the entire umbrella of current biomarkers or their link to etiopathogenetic mechanisms, and the diagnostic work-up in a comprehensive manner. Herein, we aim to appraise and synopsize the available evidence on the typical laboratory manifestations and candidate biomarkers of LC, their classification based on main LC symptomatology in the frame of the epidemiological and pathogenetic aspects of the syndrome, and furthermore assess limitations and challenges as well as potential implications in candidate therapeutic interventions.