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Serological assays to measure dimeric IgA antibodies in SARS-CoV-2 infections.

Wei Z, Angrisano F, Eriksson EM, Mazhari R, Van H, Zheng S, Center RJ, Boo I, McMahon J, Lau J, Kiernan-Walker N, Ruybal-Pesántez S, Mueller I, Robinson LJ, Anderson DA, Drummer HE

  • Journal Immunology and cell biology

  • Published 18 Aug 2023

  • Volume 101

  • ISSUE 9

  • Pagination 857-866

  • DOI 10.1111/imcb.12682


Current serological tests cannot differentiate between total immunoglobulin A (IgA) and dimeric IgA (dIgA) associated with mucosal immunity. Here, we describe two new assays, dIgA-ELISA and dIgA-multiplex bead assay (MBA), that utilize the preferential binding of dIgA to a chimeric form of secretory component, allowing the differentiation between dIgA and monomeric IgA. dIgA responses elicited through severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection were measured in (i) a longitudinal panel, consisting of 74 samples (n = 20 individuals) from hospitalized cases of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19); (ii) a longitudinal panel, consisting of 96 samples (n = 10 individuals) from individuals with mild COVID-19; (iii) a cross-sectional panel with PCR-confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection with mild COVID-19 (n = 199) and (iv) pre-COVID-19 samples (n = 200). The dIgA-ELISA and dIgA-MBA demonstrated a specificity for dIgA of 99% and 98.5%, respectively. Analysis of dIgA responses in the longitudinal panels revealed that 70% (ELISA) and 50% (MBA) of patients elicited a dIgA response by day 20 after PCR diagnosis with a SARS-CoV-2 infection. Individuals with mild COVID-19 displayed increased levels of dIgA within the first 3 weeks after diagnosis but responses appeared to be short lived, compared with sustained IgA levels. However, in samples from hospitalized patients with COVID-19 we observed high and sustained levels of dIgA, up to 245 days after PCR diagnosis. Our results suggest that severe COVID-19 infections are associated with sustained levels of plasma dIgA compared with mild cases.