Clin Kidney J. 2021 Mar 26;14(Suppl 1):i40-i47. doi: 10.1093/ckj/sfab036. eCollection 2021 Mar.
Upper respiratory and pulmonary diseases are the primary manifestations of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). However, kidney involvement has also been recognized and extensively described. A large percentage of affected patients present with acute kidney injury (AKI). However, specific phenotypic aspects of AKI or other renal manifestations of COVID-19 remain sparsely characterized. Many reports indicate that proteinuria can be detected in AKI associated with COVID-19 (CoV-AKI) despite CoV-AKI being largely described as a form of acute tubular injury. On the other hand, individuals of African ancestry with the high-risk APOL1 genotype are uniquely at risk of developing collapsing glomerulopathy when they are infected with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the entity now known as COVID-19-associated nephropathy (COVAN). Patients with COVAN typically present with nephrotic-range proteinuria. The exact incidence of proteinuria in COVID-19 is unclear due to heterogeneity in the frequency with which proteinuria has been assessed in cases of COVID-19, as well as methodological differences in the way proteinuria is measured and/or reported. In this review we discuss the current evidence of proteinuria as a manifestation of COVID-19 and elaborate on potential pathophysiological mechanisms associated with it.