The severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is responsible for COVID-19 pneumonia, a pandemic that precipitates huge pressures on the world’s social and economic systems. Disease severity varies among individuals. SARS-CoV-2 infection can be associated with e.g. flu-like symptoms, dyspnoea, severe interstitial pneumonia, acute respiratory distress syndrome, multiorgan dysfunction, and generalized coagulopathy. Nitric oxide (NO), is a small signal molecule that impacts pleiotropic functions in human physiology, which can be involved in the significant effects of COVID-19 infection. NO is a neurotransmitter involved in the neural olfactory processes in the central nervous system, and some infected patients have reported anosmia as a symptom. Additionally, NO is a well-known vasodilator, important coagulation mediator, anti-microbial effector and inhibitor of SARS-CoV replication. Exhaled NO is strongly related to the type-2 inflammatory response found in asthma, which has been suggested to be protective against SARS-CoV-2 infection. Several reports indicate that the use of inhaled NO has been an effective therapy during this pandemic since the ventilation-perfusion ratio in COVID-19 patients improved afterwards and they did not require mechanical ventilation. The aim of this mini-review is to summarize relevant actions of NO that could be beneficial in the treatment of COVID-19.
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