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Antiphospholipid antibodies and neurological manifestation of COVID-19

Antiphospholipid antibodies are a group of antibodies that can be pathological. Moreover, the persistence of such antibodies are associated with thrombosis and neurological manifestations that lead to Antiphospholipid Syndrome; a multisystem, poly-symptomatic chronic disease that requires long-term treatment with anticoagulation.

In a study published in Lancet eClinicalMedicine, Laura Benjamin, Ross Paterson, Maria Efthymiou, and colleagues show that antiphospholipid antibodies are common in hospitalised patients with COVID-19. Furthermore, specific subtypes are implicated in hospitalised patients with acute disseminated encephalomyelitis, in addition to non-neurological manifestations of the disease.

Notably, the study provides the first biochemical evidence that implicates antiphospholipid antibodies in the neurological manifestation of COVID-19 and highlights the urgent need for longitudinal studies to characterise the long-term persistence of these antibodies. The latter could have relevance in the clinical presentation and management of long COVID.