With the worldwide spread of the novel Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) resulting in declaration of a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO) on March 11, 2020, the SARS-CoV-2-induced Coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19) has become one of the main challenges of our times. The high infection rate and the severe disease course led to major safety and social restriction measures worldwide. There is an urgent need of unbiased expert knowledge guiding the development of efficient treatment and prevention strategies. This report summarizes current immunological data on mechanisms associated with the SARS-CoV-2 infection and COVID-19 development and progression to the most severe forms. We characterize the differences between adequate innate and adaptive immune response in mild disease and the deep immune dysfunction in the severe multi-organ disease. The similarities of the human immune response to SARS-CoV-2 and the SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV are underlined. We also summarize known and potential SARS-CoV-2 receptors on epithelial barriers, immune cells, endothelium and clinically involved organs such as lung, gut, kidney, cardiovascular and neuronal system. Finally, we discuss the known and potential mechanisms underlying the involvement of comorbidities, gender and age in development of COVID-19. Consequently, we highlight the knowledge gaps and urgent research requirements to provide a quick roadmap for ongoing and needed COVID-19 studies.


This content is not covered by the Open Government Licence. Please see source record or item for information on rights and permissions.

Cite as

Sokolowska, M., Lukasik, Z., Akdis, C., Akdis, D., Akdis, M., Barcik, W., Brough, H., Eiwegger, T., Eljaszewicz, A., Eyerich, S., Feleszko, W., Gomez-Casado, C., Hoffmann‐Sommergruber, K., Janda, J., Jiménez‐Saiz, R., Jutel, M., Knol, E., Krohn, Inge Kortekaas, Kothari, A., Makowska, J., Moniuszko, M., Morita, H., O'Mahony, L., Nadeau, K., Cevdet, O., Pali-Schöll, I., Palomares, O., Papaleo, F., Prunicki, M., Schmidt-Weber, C., Sediva, A., Schwarze, J., Shamji, M., Tramper-Stranders, G., Van De Veen, W. & Untersmayr, E. 2020, 'Immunology of COVID-19: mechanisms, clinical outcome, diagnostics and perspectives – a report of the European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (EAACI)', Allergy. https://doi.org/10.1111/all.14462

Downloadable citations

Download HTML citationHTML Download BIB citationBIB Download RIS citationRIS
Last updated: 01 October 2022
Was this page helpful?