Establishing the prevalence of common, clinically relevant
tissue-specific autoantibodies following SARS CoV-2 infection
COVID-19 has been associated with both transient and persistent systemic
symptoms that do not appear to be a direct consequence of viral
infection. The generation of autoantibodies has been proposed as a
mechanism to explain these symptoms. To understand this phenomenon in
more detail, we investigated the frequency and specificity of clinically
relevant autoantibodies in 84 individuals previously infected with
SARS-CoV-2, suffering from COVID-19 of varying severity in both the
acute and convalescent setting. These were compared with results from 32
individuals who were on ITU for non COVID reasons. We demonstrate a
higher frequency of autoantibodies in the COVID-19 ITU group compared
with non-COVID-19 ITU disease control patients and that autoantibodies
were also found in the serum 3-5 months post COVID-19 infection.
Non-COVID patients displayed a diverse pattern of autoantibodies; in
contrast, the COVID-19 groups had a more restricted panel of
autoantibodies including skin, skeletal muscle and cardiac antibodies.
Our results demonstrate that severe COVID-19 induces a pattern of
autoantibodies that may correlate with and contribute to the immune
pathology associated with the long-term sequelae of infection.