Autoantibodies against type I IFNs in patients with life-threatening COVID-19

NIAID-USUHS Immune Response to COVID Group, COVID Clinicians, COVID-STORM Clinicians, Imagine COVID Group, French COVID Cohort Study Group, Milieu Intérieur Consortium, CoV-Contact Cohort, Amsterdam UMC Covid-19 Biobank, COVID Human Genetic Effort, HGID Lab

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1785 Scopus citations


Interindividual clinical variability in the course of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection is vast. We report that at least 101 of 987 patients with life-threatening coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pneumonia had neutralizing immunoglobulin G (IgG) autoantibodies (auto-Abs) against interferon-w (IFN-w) (13 patients), against the 13 types of IFN-a (36), or against both (52) at the onset of critical disease; a few also had auto-Abs against the other three type I IFNs. The auto-Abs neutralize the ability of the corresponding type I IFNs to block SARS-CoV-2 infection in vitro. These auto-Abs were not found in 663 individuals with asymptomatic or mild SARS-CoV-2 infection and were present in only 4 of 1227 healthy individuals. Patients with auto-Abs were aged 25 to 87 years and 95 of the 101 were men. A B cell autoimmune phenocopy of inborn errors of type I IFN immunity accounts for life-threatening COVID-19 pneumonia in at least 2.6% of women and 12.5% of men.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbereabd4585
Issue number6515
StatePublished - 23 Oct 2020
Externally publishedYes


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