COVID Infection May Trigger Development of Autoantibodies

September 28, 2021

New research indicates that cases of severe COVID-19 may lead to the production of autoantibodies, antibodies which mistakenly attack a person’s own cells. Recent reports have compared these autoantibodies to those seen in autoimmune diseases like MS and lupus. This being said, there have also been cases of autoimmune responses in those with asymptomatic and mild infection to SARS-CoV-2.

In a study published this month, autoantibodies were identified in 50% of patients infected with COVID-19, versus only 15% in healthy controls. Blood samples were drawn over various days, including the day of hospital admission. Within a week of admission, 20% of patients developed new antibodies that were not present the day they were admitted into the hospital. “When present, autoantibodies largely target autoantigens associated with rare disorders such as myositis, systemic sclerosis and overlap syndromes.”
Enough time has not passed to study autoantibodies in COVID-19 patients long-term following their initial infection.