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Type I interferon (IFN-I) neutralizing autoantibodies have been found in some critical COVID-19 patients; however, their prevalence and longitudinal dynamics across the disease severity scale, and functional effects on circulating leukocytes remain unknown. Here, in 284 COVID-19 patients, we found IFN-I autoantibodies in 19% of critical, 6% of severe and none of the moderate cases. Longitudinal profiling of over 600,000 peripheral blood mononuclear cells using multiplexed single-cell epitope and transcriptome sequencing from 54 COVID-19 patients, 15 non-COVID-19 patients and 11 non-hospitalized healthy controls, revealed a lack of IFN-I stimulated gene (ISG-I) response in myeloid cells from critical cases, including those producing anti-IFN-I autoantibodies. Moreover, surface protein analysis showed an inverse correlation of the inhibitory receptor LAIR-1 with ISG-I expression response early in the disease course. This aberrant ISG-I response in critical patients with and without IFN-I autoantibodies, supports a unifying model for disease pathogenesis involving ISG-I suppression via convergent mechanisms.

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