Infection with SARS-CoV-2 causes the coronavirus infectious disease 2019 (COVID-19), a pandemic that has, at present, infected more than 11 million people globally. Some COVID-19 patients develop a severe and critical illness, spurred on by excessive inflammation that can lead to respiratory or multiorgan failure. Numerous studies have established the unique array of cytoprotective properties of the dietary amino acid ergothioneine. Based on studies in a range of in vitro and in vivo models, ergothioneine has exhibited the ability to modulate inflammation, scavenge free radicals, protect against acute respiratory distress syndrome, prevent endothelial dysfunction, protect against ischemia and reperfusion injury, protect against neuronal damage, counteract iron dysregulation, hinder lung and liver fibrosis, and mitigate damage to the lungs, kidneys, liver, gastrointestinal tract, and testis, amongst many others. When compiled, this evidence suggests that ergothioneine has a potential application in the treatment of the underlying pathology of COVID-19. We propose that ergothioneine could be used as a therapeutic to reduce the severity and mortality of COVID-19, especially in the elderly and those with underlying health conditions. This review presents evidence to support that proposal.
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