Extracellular vesicle-based therapy for COVID-19: Promises, challenges and future prospects

Vamika Karn, Shaista Ahmed, Lung Wen Tsai, Rajni Dubey, Shreesh Ojha, Himanshu Naryan Singh, Mukesh Kumar, Piyush Kumar Gupta, Soumi Sadhu, Niraj Kumar Jha, Ashutosh Kumar, Soumya Pandit, Sanjay Kumar

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


The COVID-19 pandemic has become a serious concern and has negatively impacted public health and the economy. It primarily targets the lungs, causing acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS); however, it may also lead to multiple organ failure (MOF) and enhanced mortality rates. Hence, there is an urgent need to develop potential effective therapeutic strategies for COVID-19 patients. Extracellular vesicles (EVs) are released from various types of cells that participate in intercellular communication to maintain physiological and pathological processes. EVs derived from various cellular origins have revealed suppressive effects on the cytokine storm during systemic hyper-inflammatory states of severe COVID-19, leading to enhanced alveolar fluid clearance, pro-moted epithelial and endothelial recovery, and cell proliferation. Being the smallest subclass of EVs, exosomes offer striking characteristics such as cell targeting, being nano-carriers for drug delivery, high biocompatibility, safety, and low-immunogenicity, thus rendering them a potential cell-free therapeutic candidate against the pathogeneses of various diseases. Due to these properties, numerous studies and clinical trials have been performed to assess their safety and therapeutic efficacy against COVID-19. Hence, in this review, we have comprehensively described current updates on progress and challenges for EVs as a potential therapeutic agent for the management of COVID-19.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1373
Issue number10
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • COVID-19
  • Extracellular vesicles
  • SARS-CoV2
  • Therapeutic agents

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology


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