Introduction: Alpha 1 antitrypsin (A1AT) is the major human blood serine protease inhibitor. Transmembrane serine protease 2 (TMPRSS2), which is crucial for SARS-CoV-2 cell entry, is inhibited by A1AT. Therefore, we hypothesized that individuals with diminished levels of A1AT may be more prone to SARS-CoV-2 infection and severe COVID-19 disease. Our aim in this study was to evaluate the level of A1AT in hospitalized COVID-19 patients in comparison to hospitalized patients with non-COVID-19 pneumonia. Methods: We conducted an observational prospective study between October 2020 and April 2021 in Rabin Medical Centre in Israel. A1AT levels were measured from the routine serum samples of hospitalized patients with COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 pneumonia (control group). The primary outcome was A1AT level, secondary outcomes were clinical outcomes and predictors of morality. Results: Overall, 145 patients were included in the study, 98 in the COVID-19 group and 47 in the control group. The median A1AT level was 222 mg/dL (interquartile range (IQR) 188–269) and 258 mg/dL (IQR 210–281) in the COVID-19 and control groups, respectively (p =.045). Multivariate analysis for independent risk factors for mortality among COVID-19 patients showed that diabetes mellitus (p =.02), older age (p =.04), and high A1AT levels (p =.04) were all associated with increased mortality. Conclusion: Patients admitted due to severe COVID-19 had lower A1AT levels in comparison to patients admitted due to non-COVID pneumonia. This observation may suggest an association between mildly diminished A1AT and higher risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection with severe COVID-19 disease.
- Alpha-1 antitrypsin