Decay of Fc-dependent antibody functions after mild to moderate COVID-19

Wen Shi Lee, Kevin John Selva, Samantha K. Davis, Bruce D. Wines, Arnold Reynaldi, Robyn Esterbauer, Hannah G. Kelly, Ebene R. Haycroft, Hyon Xhi Tan, Jennifer A. Juno, Adam K. Wheatley, P. Mark Hogarth, Deborah Cromer, Miles P. Davenport, Amy W. Chung, Stephen J. Kent

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38 Citations (Scopus)


The capacity of antibodies to engage with immune cells via the Fc region is important in preventing and controlling many infectious diseases. The evolution of such antibodies during convalescence from coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is largely unknown. We develop assays to measure Fc-dependent antibody functions against severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) spike (S)-expressing cells in serial samples from subjects primarily with mild-moderate COVID-19 up to 149 days post-infection. We find that S-specific antibodies capable of engaging Fcγ receptors decay over time, with S-specific antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity (ADCC) and antibody-dependent phagocytosis (ADP) activity within plasma declining accordingly. Although there is significant decay in ADCC and ADP activity, they remain readily detectable in almost all subjects at the last time point studied (94%) in contrast with neutralization activity (70%). Although it remains unclear the degree to which Fc effector functions contribute to protection against SARS-CoV-2 re-infection, our results indicate that antibodies with Fc effector functions persist longer than neutralizing antibodies.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100296
Number of pages15
JournalCell Reports Medicine
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jun 2021


  • ADCC
  • ADP
  • antibody
  • convalescence
  • COVID-19
  • decay
  • Fc effector functions
  • phagocytosis
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • trogocytosis

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