MAFLD in COVID-19 patients: an insidious enemy

Paola Dongiovanni, Marica Meroni, Miriam Longo, Anna Ludovica Fracanzani

Research output: Contribution to journalEditorialpeer-review


The pandemic Sars-CoV-2 infection represents a dramatic health challenge worldwide. Pneumonia is considered the major damage caused by the virus. However, recent data have highlighted the impact of the Sars-CoV-2 related disease namely COVID-19 on the liver. Hepatic abnormalities significantly increase during COVID-19 and a more severe infection occurs in patients with pre-existing liver diseases, among which the most frequent is metabolic-associated fatty liver disease (MAFLD). It has been described that MAFLD patients had a higher risk of progression to severe COVID-19, higher abnormal liver tests and longer viral shedding time. The presence of fibrosis in MAFLD patients is another risk factor for severity of COVID-19. Due to the overgrowing prevalence of MAFLD, it could be speculated that a large proportion of the population might be at risk of severe COVID-19 and the identification of these patients possibly by using liver enzymes as risk predictors may be crucial for an early diagnosis and for the management of the infection.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)867-872
JournalExpert Review of Gastroenterology and Hepatology
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • COVID-19
  • infection
  • progressive liver disease
  • Sars-CoV-2

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hepatology
  • Gastroenterology


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