Most patients with COVID-19 lack antibody to SARS-CoV-2 in the first 10 days of illness while the virus drives disease pathogenesis. SARS-CoV-2 antibody deficiency in the setting of a tissue viral burden suggests that using an antibody as a therapeutic agent would augment the antiviral immune response. In this issue of the JCI, Wang and collaborators describe the kinetics of viral load and antibody responses of 23 individuals with COVID-19 with mild and severe disease. The researchers found: 1) individuals with mild and severe disease produced neutralizing IgG to SARS-CoV-2 10 days after disease onset; 2) SARS-CoV-2 persisted longer in those with severe disease; and 3) there was cross-reactivity between antibodies to SARS-CoV-1 and SARS-CoV-2, but only antibodies from patients with COVID-19 neutralized SARS-CoV-2. These observations provide important information on the serological response to SARS-CoV-2 of hospitalized patients with COVID-19 that can inform the use of convalescent plasma therapy.
Arturo Casadevall, Michael J. Joyner, Liise-anne Pirofski