Anti-type I interferon antibodies as a cause of severe COVID-19
Authors listDavid C Fajgenbaum Adrian Hayday Angela J Rogers Greg J Towers Andreas Wack Ivan Zanoni
COVID-19 ranges from asymptomatic through to respiratory failure and death. Although specific pre-existing conditions such as age and male sex have been associated with poor outcomes, we remain largely ignorant of the mechanisms predisposing to severe disease. In this study, the authors discovered that approximately 10% of 987 patients with life-threatening COVID-19 harbored neutralizing antibodies to Type I interferons (IFNs). They demonstrated that these antibodies could neutralize high concentrations of the corresponding IFN and could rescue SARS-CoV-2 infection from inhibition by IFN . Importantly, anti-IFN antibodies were associated with low levels of serum IFN. These observations suggest that disease severity in these individuals results from a failure to control SARS-CoV-2 replication because of antibody-mediated IFN inhibition. The study suggests specific treatments and diagnostics for this class of severe COVID-19.