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Blood type may affect risk for COVID-19

Your blood type may strongly influence your risk of severe COVID-19, new research suggests.

After screening more than 3,000 blood proteins, scientists linked six with an increased risk of severe COVID-19 and found eight that could help protect against severe disease.

One of the proteins (ABO) linked to severe illness determines blood type, suggesting that blood types (groups) play a major role in whether people develop severe forms of COVID-19, according to the authors of the study published Thursday in the journal PLOS Genetics.

“The enzyme helps determine the blood group of an individual and our study has linked it with both risk of hospitalization and the need of respiratory support or death,” said study co-author Christopher Hübel. He is a research associate at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience (IoPPN) at King’s College London, in the United Kingdom.

“Our study does not link precise blood group with risk of severe COVID-19, but since previous research has found that [the] proportion of people who are group A is higher in COVID-19-positive individuals, this suggests that blood group A is a more likely candidate for follow-up studies,” Hübel noted in a college news release.

The researchers also identified a causal link between three adhesion molecules and a lower risk of hospitalization and need for respiratory support. The three adhesion molecules are involved in the interaction between immune cells and blood vessels, so this new finding supports previous research suggesting that late-stage COVID-19 is also a disease involving the linings of blood vessels.

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