Increasing evidence suggests that activation of the complement system plays a key role in the pathogenesis and disease severity of Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). We used a systematic approach to create an overview of complement activation in COVID-19 based on histopathological, preclinical, multiomics, observational and clinical interventional studies. A total of 1801 articles from PubMed, EMBASE and Cochrane was screened of which 157 articles were included in this scoping review. Histopathological, preclinical, multiomics and observational studies showed apparent complement activation through all three complement pathways and a correlation with disease severity and mortality. The complement system was targeted at different levels in COVID-19, of which C5 and C5a inhibition seem most promising. Adequately powered, double blind RCTs are necessary in order to further investigate the effect of targeting the complement system in COVID-19.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100995
JournalBlood Reviews
Early online date30 Jul 2022
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 30 Jul 2022


  • COVID-19
  • Complement cascade
  • Complement inhibition
  • Review
  • SARS-CoV-2

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