Open access peer-reviewed chapter - ONLINE FIRST

Targeting Mononuclear Phagocytes to Treat COVID-19

By Brandt D. Pence and Theodore J. Cory

Submitted: February 11th 2021Reviewed: June 17th 2021Published: July 12th 2021

DOI: 10.5772/intechopen.98967

Downloaded: 11


Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and its etiological agent severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) have caused considerable illness and death worldwide. The innate immune system seems to play a principal in the disease, as a hallmark of severe COVID-19 is excessive inflammation. Monocytes and macrophages are important innate immune cells that become pro-inflammatory and promote adaptive immune responses during viral infection. In this chapter we present evidence linking these cells to severity of COVID-19. Namely, monocytes and macrophages infiltrate the infected tissue during the early stages of infection and show pro-inflammatory responses that appear to be linked to those predicting tissue pathology during disease. Additionally, studies in isolated cells demonstrate that monocytes and macrophages respond by producing pro-inflammatory cytokines when directly stimulated by SARS-CoV-2. While most anti-inflammatory pharmaceutical treatments for COVID-19 have focused on systemic infiltration, some of the most promising have known or suspected effects on monocyte and macrophage inflammatory responses. Therefore, targeting these cells to treat severe COVID-19 is a promising strategy for this important disease.


  • COVID-19
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • monocytes
  • macrophages
  • innate immunity


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© 2021 The Author(s). Licensee IntechOpen. This chapter is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Brandt D. Pence and Theodore J. Cory (July 12th 2021). Targeting Mononuclear Phagocytes to Treat COVID-19 [Online First], IntechOpen, DOI: 10.5772/intechopen.98967. Available from:

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