Long-term Coexistence of SARS-CoV-2 With Antibody Response in COVID-19 Patients

J Med Virol. 2020 Apr 28;10.1002/jmv.25946. doi: 10.1002/jmv.25946. Online ahead of print.


Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection causing coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has spread worldwide. Whether antibodies are important for the adaptive immune responses against SARS-CoV-2 infection needs to be determined. Here, 26 cases of COVID-19 in Jinan, China, were examined and shown to be mild or with common clinical symptoms, and no case of severe symptoms was found among these patients. Strikingly, a subset of these patients had SARS-CoV-2 and virus-specific IgG coexist for an unexpectedly long time, with two cases for up to 50 days. One COVID-19 patient who did not produce any SARS-CoV-2-bound IgG successfully cleared SARS-CoV-2 after 46 days of illness, revealing that without antibody-mediated adaptive immunity, innate immunity alone may still be powerful enough to eliminate SARS-CoV-2. This report may provide a basis for further analysis of both innate and adaptive immunity in SARS-CoV-2 clearance, especially in nonsevere cases.

Keywords: COVID-19; IgG; SARS-CoV-2; antibody; immunity.