Clinical and Autoimmune Characteristics of Severe and Critical Cases of COVID-19

Clin Transl Sci. 2020 Nov;13(6):1077-1086. doi: 10.1111/cts.12805. Epub 2020 May 14.


In this study we report on the clinical and autoimmune characteristics of severe and critical novel coronavirus pneumonia caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome-associated coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). The clinical, autoimmune, and laboratory characteristics of 21 patients who had laboratory-confirmed severe and critical cases of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) from the intensive care unit of the Huangshi Central Hospital, Hubei Province, China, were investigated. A total of 21 patients (13 men and 8 women), including 8 (38.1%) severe cases and 13 (61.9%) critical cases, were enrolled. Cough (90.5%) and fever (81.0%) were the dominant symptoms, and most patients (76.2%) had at least one coexisting disorder on admission. The most common characteristics on chest computed tomography were ground-glass opacity (100%) and bilateral patchy shadowing (76.2%). The most common findings on laboratory measurement were lymphocytopenia (85.7%) and elevated levels of C-reactive protein (94.7%) and interleukin-6 (89.5%). The prevalence of anti-52 kDa SSA/Ro antibody, anti-60 kDa SSA/Ro antibody, and antinuclear antibody was 20%, 25%, and 50%, respectively. We also retrospectively analyzed the clinical and laboratory data from 21 severe and critical cases of COVID-19. Autoimmune phenomena exist in COVID-19 subjects, and the present results provide the rationale for a strategy of preventing immune dysfunction and optimal immunosuppressive therapy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Autoantibodies / blood
  • Autoimmunity*
  • COVID-19 / diagnostic imaging
  • COVID-19 / immunology*
  • COVID-19 / mortality
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Retrospective Studies
  • SARS-CoV-2*


  • Autoantibodies