Comparison of SARS-CoV-2 IgM and IgG seroconversion profiles among hospitalized patients in two US cities

Erika P. Orner, Mary A. Rodgers, Karl Hock, Mei San Tang, Russell Taylor, Mary Gardiner, Ana Olivo, Amy Fox, John Prostko, Gavin Cloherty, Christopher W. Farnsworth

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29 Scopus citations


The clinical and public health utility of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) serologic testing requires a better understanding of the dynamics of the humoral response to infection. To track seroconversion of IgG and IgM antibodies in patients with SARS-CoV-2 infection and its association with patient and clinical factors and outcomes. Residual patient specimens were analyzed on the Abbott ARCHITECT i2000 instrument using the Abbott SARS-CoV-2 IgG assay and prototype SARS-CoV-2 IgM assay. Age, sex, comorbidities, symptom onset date, mortality, and specimen collection date were obtained from electronic medical records. Three hundred fifty-nine longitudinal samples were collected from 89 hospitalized patients 0 to 82 days postsymptom onset. Of all, 51.7% of the patients developed IgG and IgM antibodies simultaneously; 32.8% seroconverted for IgM before IgG. On average, patients seroconverted for IgG by 8 days and for IgM by 7 days postsymptom onset. All patients achieved IgG seropositivity by 19 days and IgM seropositivity by 17 days. Median time to IgG and IgM seroconversion was prolonged and initial levels of IgG were lower in immunocompromised patients and patients <65 years of age compared to immune competent patients and those ≥65 years of age. Immunocompromised patients also had persistently lower levels of IgM that peaked on day 17.6 and decreased thereafter compared to immune competent patients. IgM seroconversion in patients who died reached significantly higher levels later after symptom onset than in those who recovered. SARS-CoV-2 infected patients have similar time to seroconversion for IgG and IgM. However, differences in immune status and age alter time to seroconversion. These results may help guide serologic testing application in COVID-19 management.

Original languageEnglish
Article number115300
JournalDiagnostic Microbiology and Infectious Disease
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2021


  • COVID-19
  • Humoral immune response
  • SARS-CoV-2 serology
  • Seroconversion
  • Serologic assay


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