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Correlation between Blood Type and Resistance to COVID-19

COVID-19, the disease caused by the SARS-COV2 virus, has led to a global pandemic. It is becoming generally accepted that the SARS-COV2 virus has had varying effects on the global population; those who are older and with comorbidities such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and pulmonary diseases have proven more vulnerable.


Notwithstanding the aforementioned comorbidities, research is ongoing that is evaluating the effect of blood type on rate and type of infection. As an example, Dr. Franke at the Institute of Clinical Molecular Biology and University Hospital of Schleswig-Holstein, Christian-Albrechts University, Kiel, Germany, reported, in a genome-wide association study, in the New England Journal of Medicine (June, 2020) that people with Type A blood had a 45% higher risk of becoming infected than people with other blood types, and people with Type O blood were just 65% as likely to become infected as people with other blood types. They studied more than 1,980 severely ill coronavirus patients in Spain and Italy and compared them to 2,381 people control participants (healthy individuals).

Interestingly, Christopher Latz, Charles DeCarlo, et al., Massachusetts General Hospital reported in the Annals of Hematology on July 6, 2020, that after a large, multi-institutional, retrospective review, involving 7648 patients, they found no association noted between ABO blood type and COVID-19 disease. The criteria for severity were defined as intubation or death.


A recent study of patients in China discovered an association between ABO blood type and SARS-CoV-2 infection. Researchers at the National Institute of Health, in a non-peer reviewed pre-print recently found evidence for an association between blood groups and COVID-19. Using information obtained in data from New York Presbyterian and Columbia University Irving Medical Center (1559 patients), indicated the odds of COVID-19 positive vs negative test results were increased in blood groups A and decreased in blood groups O, consistent with previous results from Wuhan and Shenzhen. While Rh negative blood types are rare, the researchers found evidence of association only for Rh positive blood groups. Though few AB individuals were included in their study, they did determine a new significant odds decrease for AB blood groups. In a meta-analysis of our data with data from Wuhan and Shenzhen reported by Zhao et al., a new significant COVID-19 odds increase for B blood groups was observed when compared to the general population. They further confirmed that the associations found were not explained by distortion regarding other factors that influence the outcome.


Numerous articles have been written about the potential correlation between blood type and the propensity of being infected by COVID-19. It is still unclear where the research will lead and to what value it will be to the human population.


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