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Antiphospholipid antibodies (aPL), assumed to cause antiphospholipid syndrome (APS), are notorious for their heterogeneity in targeting phospholipids and phospholipid-binding proteins. The persistent presence of Lupus anticoagulant and/or aPL against cardiolipin and/or β2-glycoprotein I have been shown to be independent risk factors for vascular thrombosis and pregnancy morbidity in APS. aPL production is thought to be triggered by-among other factors-viral infections, though infection-associated aPL have mostly been considered non-pathogenic. Recently, the potential pathogenicity of infection-associated aPL has gained momentum since an increasing number of patients infected with Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has been described with coagulation abnormalities and hyperinflammation, together with the presence of aPL. Here, we present data from a multicentric, mixed-severity study including three cohorts of individuals who contracted SARS-CoV-2 as well as non-infected blood donors. We simultaneously measured 10 different criteria and non-criteria aPL (IgM and IgG) by using a line immunoassay. Further, IgG antibody response against three SARS-CoV-2 proteins was investigated using tripartite automated blood immunoassay technology. Our analyses revealed that selected non-criteria aPL were enriched concomitant to or after an infection with SARS-CoV-2. Linear mixed-effects models suggest an association of aPL with prothrombin (PT). The strength of the antibody response against SARS-CoV-2 was further influenced by SARS-CoV-2 disease severity and sex of the individuals. In conclusion, our study is the first to report an association between disease severity, anti-SARS-CoV-2 immunoreactivity, and aPL against PT in patients with SARS-CoV-2.

Original publication




Journal article


PLoS pathogens

Publication Date





Institute of Neuropathology, University of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland.


Humans, Prothrombin, Immunoglobulin G, Autoantibodies, Severity of Illness Index, Risk Factors, Cell Communication, COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2