Special Issue: 'COVID-19, one year on'

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In this Special Issue, The FEBS Journal highlights a collection of recently published articles on COVID-19. These studies cover a variety of aspects related to COVID-19, ranging from the most recent improvements in therapies and the significant impact of the development of vaccines, to the emergence of variants of SARS-CoV-2, the role of the immune system in the various stages of the disease and the impact of the disease in different organs. We encourage you to consult the editorial [1] by our Editorial Board member Lawrence Banks and co-authors for an informative overview of the issue’s articles.

In the interview included in the issue [2], two leading experts in vaccinology and immunology discuss the different vaccine platforms which have been developed against COVID-19, the nature of the immune response they induce, and the length of protection they are likely to offer.

The review by Seyran et al. [3] focuses on the structure of S protein and how it enables the attachment and entry of the virus in the host cell. Notably, Lin et al. [4] report that a subtype of tubular cells is the most vulnerable cell type to SARS-CoV-2 infection in the kidney.

The studies by Ku et al. [5] and Tong et al. [6] discuss how modulation of inflammation can improve the disease outcome and the role of T-cell immunity in diabetic patients upon SARS-CoV-2 infection, respectively. Importantly, the role of inflammation in end-stage COVID-19 is also emphasised by Zeng et al. [7].

Therapeutic approaches targeting specific factors of the virus have been considered; on this note, 3C-like cysteine proteases and the nsp14/nsp10 complex are discussed as potential targets of novel therapies against COVID-19 by Chen et al. [8] and Saramago et al. [9], respectively. Similarly, Caillet-Saguy et al. [10] focus on PBM-PDZ interactions as possible targets of novel anti-viral therapeutics. Moreover, Hari Prasad [11] reviews the role of endosomal acidification in SARS-CoV-2 infection and explores the potential of alkalinizing drugs as therapies for COVID-19.

Remarkably, Mok et al. review the ageing immune response as a risk factor for severe disease [12] and Merzon et al. investigate the potential protective role of aspirin on infection [13].

We invite you to also browse the remaining of the issue’s articles, which provide insights into various aspects of COVID-19 disease.

We hope that our readers will find the issue’s content timely and informative. Many thanks to all the authors for their excellent contributions to this Special Issue on COVID-19.

Cover Information: The cover artwork entitled 'Different approaches to Covid-19 vaccine development' was provided by Merve Evren, from Izmir in Turkey. Merve contributed the winning image for a Cover Image Competition run by The FEBS Journal in 2021.


    1. Zacchigna S, Marcello A, Banks L (2021) Spotlight on COVID-19: eighteen months on. FEBS J. 288, 4992-4995.
    2. Dhillon P, Altmann D & Male V (2021) COVID-19 vaccines: what do we know so far? FEBS J288, 4996-5009.
    3. Seyran M, Takayama K, Uversky VN, Lundstrom K, Palù G, Sherchan SP, Attrish D, Rezaei N, Aljabali AAA, Ghosh S et al. (2020) The Structural Basis of Accelerated Host Cell Entry by SARS-CoV-2. FEBS J. 288, 5010-5020.
    4. Lin H, Ma X, Xiao F, Su H, Shi Y, Liu Y, Song L, Zhang Z, Zhang C & Peng H (2021) Identification of a special cell type as a determinant of the kidney tropism of SARS-CoV-2. FEBS J. 288, 5163-5178.
    5. Ku CL, Chen IT & Lai MZ (2021) Infection-induced inflammation from specific inborn errors of immunity to COVID-19. FEBS J. 288, 5021-5041.
    6. Tong ZWM, Grant E, Gras S, Wu M, Smith C, Barrett HL, Gallo LA &, Short KR (2021) The role of T-cell immunity in COVID-19 severity amongst people living with type II diabetes. FEBS J. 288, 5042-5054.
    7. Zeng HL, Chen D, Yan J, Yang Q, Han QQ, Li SS & Cheng L (2020) Proteomic characteristics of bronchoalveolar lavage fluid in critical COVID-19 patients. FEBS J. 288, 5190-5200.
    8. Chen CC, Yu X, Kuo CJ, Min J, Chen S, Ma L, Liu K & Guo RT (2021) Overview of antiviral drug candidates targeting coronaviral 3C-like main proteases. FEBS J. 288, 5089-5121.
    9. Saramago M, Bárria C, Costa VG, Souza CS, Viegas SC, Domingues S, Lousa D, Soares CM, Arraiano CM & Matos RG (2021) New targets for drug design: importance of nsp14/nsp10 complex formation for the 3’-5’ exoribonucleolytic activity on SARS-CoV-2. FEBS J. 288, 5130-5147.
    10. Caillet-Saguy C, Durbesson F, Rezelj VV, Gogl G, Tran QD, Twizere JC, Vignuzzi M, Vincentelli R & Wolff N (2021) Host PDZ-containing proteins targeted by SARS-CoV-2. FEBS JFEBS J. 288, 5148-5162.
    11. Prasad H (2021) Protons to patients: targeting endosomal Na+/H+ exchangers against COVID-19 and other viral diseases. FEBS J. 288, 5071-5098.
    12. Mok, D.Z.L., Chan, C.Y.Y., Ooi, E.E. and Chan, K.R. (2020), The effects of aging on host resistance and disease tolerance to SARS-CoV-2 infection. FEBS J. 288, 5055-5070.
    13. Merzon, E., Green, I., Vinker, S., Golan-Cohen, A., Gorohovski, A., Avramovich, E., Frenkel-Morgenstern, M. and Magen, E. (2021), The use of aspirin for primary prevention of cardiovascular disease is associated with a lower likelihood of COVID-19 infection. FEBS J. 288, 5179-5189.


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    The FEBS Journal is an international journal devoted to the rapid publication of full-length papers covering a wide range of topics in any area of the molecular life sciences.