In 2020 we are celebrating the 20th anniversary of the angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) discovery. This event was a landmark that shaped the way that we see the renin–angiotensin system (RAS) today. ACE2 is an important molecular hub that connects the RAS classical arm, formed mainly by the octapeptide angiotensin II (Ang II) and its receptor AT1, with the RAS alternative or protective arm, formed mainly by the heptapeptides Ang-(1-7) and alamandine, and their receptors, Mas and MrgD, respectively. In this work we reviewed classical and modern literature to describe how ACE2 is a critical component of the protective arm, particularly in the context of the cardiac function, coagulation homeostasis and immune system. We also review recent literature to present a critical view of the role of ACE2 and RAS in the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic.

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