18 Apr 2021
The COVID-19 pandemic has infected millions worldwide, leaving a global burden for long-term care of COVID-19 survivors. It is thus imperative to study post-COVID (i.e., short-term) and long-COVID (i.e., long-term) effects, specifically as local and systemic pathophysiological outcomes of other coronavirus-related diseases (such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS)) were well-cataloged. We conducted a comprehensive review of adverse post-COVID health outcomes and potential long-COVID effects. We observed that such adverse outcomes were not localized. Rather, they affected different human systems, including: (i) immune system (e.g., Guillain-Barré syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, pediatric inflammatory multisystem syndromes such as Kawasaki disease), (ii) hematological system (vascular hemostasis, blood coagulation), (iii) pulmonary system (respiratory failure, pulmonary thromboembolism, pulmonary embolism, pneumonia, pulmonary vascular damage, pulmonary fibrosis), (iv) cardiovascular system (myocardial hypertrophy, coronary artery atherosclerosis, focal myocardial fibrosis, acute myocardial infarction, cardiac hypertrophy), (v) gastrointestinal, hepatic, and renal systems (diarrhea, nausea/vomiting, abdominal pain, anorexia, acid reflux, gastrointestinal hemorrhage, lack of appetite/constipation), (vi) skeletomuscular system (immune-mediated skin diseases, psoriasis, lupus), (vii) nervous system (loss of taste/smell/hearing, headaches, spasms, convulsions, confusion, visual impairment, nerve pain, dizziness, impaired consciousness, nausea/vomiting, hemiplegia, ataxia, stroke, cerebral hemorrhage), (viii) mental health (stress, depression and anxiety). We additionally hypothesized mechanisms of action by investigating possible molecular mechanisms associated with these disease outcomes/symptoms. Overall, the COVID-19 pathology is still characterized by cytokine storm that results to endothelial inflammation, microvascular thrombosis, and multiple organ failures.