Serum IgM against SARS-CoV-2 correlates with in-hospital mortality in severe/critical patients with COVID-19 in Wuhan, China

Aging (Albany NY). 2020 Jul 6;12(13):12432-12440. doi: 10.18632/aging.103417. Epub 2020 Jul 6.


Severe/critical patients with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) have become the central issue in the current global pandemic due to their high mortality rate. However, the relationship between antibody response and clinical outcomes has not been well described in this group. We conducted a single-center, retrospective, cohort study to investigate the relationship between serum immunoglobulin G (IgG) and IgM and clinical outcomes in severe/critical patients with COVID-19. Seventy-nine severe/critical patients with COVID-19 admitted in Wuhan Asia General Hospital in Wuhan, China during January 22, 2020 to March 6, 2020 were included. Serum antibodies were measured at day 25 (SD, 7) post illness onset. The median IgG titer was 113 (IQR 81-167) AU/ml, and IgM titer was 50 (IQR, 23-105) AU/ml. Patients whose IgM titer ≥ 50 AU/ml had higher in-hospital mortality (p=0.026). IgM titer ≥ 50 AU/ml was also correlated with higher incidences of Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS) and sepsis shock. Antibody remeasurements were performed in 42 patients, where IgM titer declined significantly in survivors (p=0.031). Serum IgM titer changes according to the COVID-19 progression. The severe/critical patients with COVID-19 have a higher risk of clinical adverse events when IgM titer ≥ 50 AU/ml. Further decreasing of IgM could imply a better outcome in severe/critical cases.

Keywords: COVID-19; antibody; in-hospital mortality; intensive care; severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Betacoronavirus / immunology
  • China / epidemiology
  • Cohort Studies
  • Coronavirus Infections / blood
  • Coronavirus Infections / immunology*
  • Coronavirus Infections / mortality*
  • Female
  • Hospital Mortality
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin G / blood
  • Immunoglobulin M / blood*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pandemics
  • Pneumonia, Viral / blood
  • Pneumonia, Viral / immunology*
  • Pneumonia, Viral / mortality*
  • Retrospective Studies


  • Immunoglobulin G
  • Immunoglobulin M

Supplementary concepts

  • COVID-19
  • severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2