Reports of severe COVID-19 being associated with thrombosis, antiphospholipid antibodies (APLA), and antiphospholipid syndrome have yielded disparate conclusions. Studies comparing patients with COVID-19 with contemporaneous controls of similar severity are lacking.
Methods 22 COVID-19+ and 20 COVID-19– patients with respiratory failure admitted to intensive care were studied longitudinally. Demographic and clinical data were obtained from the day of admission. APLA testing included anticardiolipin (aCL), anti-β2glycoprotien 1 (β2GP1), antidomain 1 β2GP1 and antiphosphatidyl serine/prothrombin complex. Antinuclear antibodies (ANAs) were detected by immunofluorescence and antibodies to cytokines by a commercially available multiplexed array. Analysis of variance was used for continuous variables and Fisher’s exact test was used for categorical variables with α=0.05 and the false discovery rate at q=0.05.
Results APLAs were predominantly IgG aCL (48%), followed by IgM (21%) in all patients, with a tendency towards higher frequency among the COVID-19+. aCL was not associated with surrogate markers of thrombosis but IgG aCL was strongly associated with worse disease severity and higher ANA titres regardless of COVID-19 status. An association between aCL and anticytokine autoantibodies tended to be higher among the COVID-19+.
Conclusions Positive APLA serology was associated with more severe disease regardless of COVID-19 status.