Research ArticleCORONAVIRUS

Enhanced SARS-CoV-2 neutralization by dimeric IgA

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Science Translational Medicine  07 Dec 2020:
DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.abf1555


Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the virus that causes coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), primarily infects cells at mucosal surfaces. Serum neutralizing antibody responses are variable and generally low in individuals that suffer mild forms of COVID-19. Although potent IgG antibodies can neutralize the virus, less is known about secretory antibodies such as IgA that might impact the initial viral spread and transmissibility from the mucosa. Here we characterize the IgA response to SARS-CoV-2 in a cohort of 149 convalescent individuals following diagnosis with COVID-19. IgA responses in plasma generally correlated with IgG responses. Further, clones of IgM-, IgG-, and IgA-producing B cells were derived from common progenitor cells. Plasma IgA monomers specific to SARS-CoV-2 proteins were demonstrated to be two-fold less potent than IgG equivalents. However, IgA dimers, the primary form of antibody in the nasopharynx, were on average fifteen times more potent than IgA monomers against the same target. Thus, dimeric IgA responses may be particularly valuable for protection against SARS-CoV-2 and for vaccine efficacy.

This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution license, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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